file photo of Rep. Bill Young speaking with reporters
St. Petersburg, FL -- The country's fourth largest VA hospital will soon bear the name of its biggest supporter, Congressman C.W. Bill Young.
On Tuesday night, The U.S. House of Representatives voted to change the name of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Bay Pines to the C.W. Bill Young Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
"Congressman Young was a model statesman. His kindness, sincerity, and dogged advocacy for our nation's men and women in uniform and veterans will be missed," Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa said on the House floor before the voice vote.
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Established in the 1930's, Bay Pines grew in size thanks to earmarks by Congressman Young. Today the medical complex serves tens of thousands of men and women each year.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says it's fitting the facility be renamed after Young, not only to recognize the Republican's love for this country's military but also out of respect for his bipartisan service.
"He knows how to work with all kinds of people, and that's the problem with those extremists up there now. They want it all their way and they're willing to shut down the government to do it," Nelson told 10 News.
That ability to reach across the aisle and work with the other party is something Young likely learned when he was first elected to the Florida Senate back in 1960, says his son Bill Young II. Talking with 10 News on Tuesday, Young II said when his father went to Tallahassee, he was the only Republican in the Democrat-controlled state Senate.
"He had to work together. If he didn't work together, he would have been completely irrelevant and he became extremely relevant, because he learned to get along with everybody and work with everybody," Young II said.
The U.S. Senate must still approve the name change. Nelson expects that to happen next week.
Young passed away on Friday at the age of 82.
A funeral service for the Congressman is schedule for Thursday afternoon in Largo.
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