Congressman C.W. Bill Young has had a profound impact on the Tampa Bay area community, serving in the United States House of Representatives from 1971 until his passing in 2013.
Young accomplished a lot in his over 40-year career as a U.S. Congress member. In the mid-2000s, he started to work on one of his last major projects and oversaw the creation of the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions (ISPS). While housed at St. Petersburg College, the Institute was created with the intention to be a statewide resource in the community college space, serving both students and civilians.
The non-partisan think tank seeks to enhance, educate and engage community members in public policy, education and government. Developed as a safe space for public discourse where everyone is welcome, ISPS encourages community involvement among individuals of all political backgrounds. Core to ISPS’s mission is to educate future leaders.
In honor of the 10th anniversary of Young’s passing, ISPS has created a retrospective documentary about the congressman’s career and how his legacy has shaped ISPS.
“I think it is very rare that we see someone who gave so much to this community and his legacy is just surrounding us, constantly. I think it is important for us to remember these icons, not just their name, but for the good work they left behind,” said Kimberly Jackson, the executive director of ISPS. “I hope that what we are doing, with this reflection, is giving it a wider audience so that people understand not just who this person was to the community, or to his family, but also who he was to the world.”
The documentary will show photos and footage of Congressman Young and will feature interviews with Commissioner Janet Long, members of Young’s family, including his widow, Beverly Young, and son, Billy Young, Judge George Greer, Seminole Councilor Jim Olliver, Senator Dennis Jones, former Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos and former SPC President Bill Law, among other notable figures.
Young’s legacy as a congressman is much more than overseeing the formation of ISPS. During his congressional career, he brought over $85 million dollars in funding to the Tampa Bay area. Young prioritized defense, medical research, among other additional areas of focus, and was recognized as a politician who deeply cared about his constituents.
“Congressman C.W. ‘Bill’ Young was a great American, a patriot, a statesman, a man of the people and a gentleman. He was beloved for decades by the people he represented and by politicians, community leaders he worked with on local, state and national issues,” said Mayor Leslie Waters of Seminole. “I admired his civility, his strong leadership and his distinguished and selfless service to our greater community, to our military and to our veterans.”
ISPS’s retrospective documentary on Young will premiere on November 29, at 5 p.m. at the SPC Seminole Digitorium. The premiere event is open to the public. To register, visit https://isps.spcollege.edu/events/congressman-c-w-bill-young-documentary-premiere/.