U.S. Rep. Bill Young of Florida — the nation’s longest-serving Republican congressman — is seriously ill and hospitalized in Maryland.
Young’s family released a statement on Thursday through an aide, confirming that Young has become “gravely ill” since undergoing back surgery.
The statement said that Young’s “prognosis is guarded," according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The 82-year-old Congressman was noticeably absent from the vote in Congress Wednesday on re-opening the federal government, which Young had supported.
Last week, Young told a Tampa Bay Times reporter in a telephone interview that he will not seek re-election in 2014.
Young’s announcement surprised even his wife. At the time, it was noted that Young was recovering from back surgery, related to an injury suffered in a plane crash years ago. On Wednesday, Young's family said that his condition had turned serious overnight.
Young was first elected to Congress in 1970, and has been credited with bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in military government contracts and defense jobs to the Tampa Bay area.
Young’s health has raised questions about how his seat would be filled if he cannot finish his term. By law, Gov. Rick Scott must set a date for a special election.
More this morning:
Bondi trumped again: New York celebrity entrepreneur Donald Trump likes Pam Bondi — a lot. Trump not only donated $25,000 to her re-election bid, he also released a personal endorsement of the Florida AG: “Pam Bondi is a fabulous representative of the people — Florida is lucky to have her,” reports the Tampa Bay Times.
But Trump’s motivations — along with Bondi’s fundraising — are being questioned, since he made the contribution after the Florida Attorney General’s Office started reviewing a New York lawsuit involving “get-rich-quick” seminars branded by Trump.
Trump dismissed the litigation as he voiced support for the Sunshine State’s Attorney General: “The case in New York is pure politics brought by an incompetent attorney general, a political hack,” reports the Tampa Bay Times.
Trump’s contribution comes from the Trump Foundation. It was made to a political action committee raising money for Bondi’s re-election.
Bondi already came under scrutiny for delaying the execution of a death row inmate, because it coincided with her campaign fundraiser kickoff at a private south Tampa home.
Ratepayers get duked: State utility regulators have approved a plan by Duke Energy to pass along the costs of two failed nuclear plants to ratepayers. The $3.2 billion bill is for costs associated with a failed attempt to update the Crystal River Plant, which is being decommissioned.
It also includes the costs from a planned nuclear power plant in Levy County, which failed to move forward.
Democratic Florida lawmakers have sharply criticized Duke Energy for increasing utility rates to pay the bill.
“There is no question that the Florida Legislature must act now and repeal the irresponsible nuclear cost fee,” said newly elected Rep. Amanda Murphy, who called the decision “outrageous.”