The longest-serving Republican member currently in Congress has decided to hang up his hat in 2014.
Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.), also the longest-serving member of Congress from his home state, was elected to the House in 1970 and has won re-election 20 times. The closest he ever came to defeat was in 2012, when he got 57.6 percent of the vote over a Democratic challenger.
The 82-year-old began his political career in the Florida Senate in 1960.
Young said he won’t run again because of “several” factors including his health and his desire to spend more time with his family.
“I don’t know that I would pick out one thing. It’s a lot of things. My family, my job, my rehabilitation from my back,” Young told the Tampa Bay Tribune from Walter Reed, where he’s recovering from a back injury.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said “Floridians owe Bill Young a debt of gratitude for his 53 years of service to our state and country.”
“Bill has fought tirelessly for the interests of Pinellas County, St. Pete and the Tampa Bay area in the state legislature and U.S. Congress by helping to strengthen our state’s defense industry and creating thousands of jobs. Additionally, no one has fought harder for the servicemen and women in this country and for returning veterans than Bill and his wife, Beverly,” Rubio said. “Bill is a true statesman whose wisdom, commitment and expertise will be sorely missed in Congress. Jeanette and I wish Beverly and Bill all the best as they begin the next chapter of their life.”
There are three members currently in Congress who have served as long or longer than Young: Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), who was elected with Young; John Conyers (D-Mich.), who has served more than 48 years; and John Dingell (D-Mich.), the longest-serving member in history and one of just two World War II veterans remaining in Congress.