Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mitch Perry Report 4.24.14: Beverly Young returns

Posted By on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 9:07 AM

click to enlarge young02.jpg
The best local political story of the year may have been written in its first week, when the Tampa Bay Times' Andrew Meacham reported on the late Bill Young's "other family." That would be the one that he ditched after taking up with his then-secretary and future wife, Beverly Young, back in 1984, after having a child with her while still married to his first wife.

During the primary and special election for a successor to her late husband in Congress, Beverly Young was solidly in the camp of David Jolly. But yesterday afternoon she sat down for an interview with WFLA-Newschannel 8's Lauren Mayk, and came out blazing with a takedown of the recently elected congressman. Young said that she can no longer support Jolly because “he made promises to my husband that he was going to continue to carry on his legacy, and the first thing he did was dump the people who made his legacy what it is."

She alleges that Jolly promised Young (on his deathbed) that he would keep his staff on for at least a month, but didn't do so. “He’s made a mockery out of my husband’s life and his legacy,” Young said.

Hyperbole, anybody?

What was fascinating about the Meacham story in January was the reaction. National Democrats seized on it as a case of the hypocrisy of a family-values Republican. Local Democrats said everybody knew about it. And Pinellas Republicans said they couldn't believe the Times would desecrate Young's memory by writing about his life after he passed away.

An interesting sidebar: At a Tiger Bay event in December, Alex Sink said she had heard great things about Young's staff and its work with constituents, and hinted that if elected she might try to keep some of those staffers in place.

In other news: How big a deal is getting the majority of the Latino vote in Florida's gubernatorial election this year? Enough to the point where both Charlie Crist and Rick Scott have created Spanish language websites touting the demographic's virtues.

Could the CD15 race in Polk and Hillsborough County be competitive this fall? Democratic congressional candidate Alan Cohn is acting like it is — as he's taking it verbally to GOP incumbent Dennis Ross.

Some of the greatest medical breakthroughs in this country have come from scientists who've received federal grants from the National Institutes of Health. But the federal sequester reduced those grants last year, something that Democratic Congresspersons Frank Pallone from New Jersey and Kathy Castor from Tampa bemoaned while speaking with reporters yesterday.

And MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry will be the commencement speaker for the graduating class at Eckerd College next month — and one of those in the audience will be her niece, part of the class of 2014 at the St. Petersburg private university.

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