Congressman David Jolly said he promised the late Congressman Bill Young to carry on his legacy but never made any promises about employing his staff.
Jolly was responding to comments made to News Channel 8 this week by Beverly Young, the widow of the 22-term Congressman who died last fall. Jolly, a Republican, was elected to take his place in Congress representing District 13.
"Politics is always full of critics, that's part of the game I understand that," Jolly said about losing the support of Young, who had previously appeared in a campaign commercial for him for the special election in which he defeated Democrat Alex Sink. "My job is to prove to everybody that I'm the right person for this job."
Beverly Young this week described a sort of deathbed promise by Jolly to the dying Congressman to keep his staff at least for a month during the transition. She was also upset that more of her husband's staff wasn't hired to work in Jolly's offices.
"He made promises to my husband that he was going to continue to carry on his legacy and the first thing he did was dumped the people who made his legacy what it is," Young said.
Attending an event with Gov. Rick Scott on Friday afternoon, Jolly told News Channel 8 that Young’s staff "essentially had five months notice" that they would be terminated on March 10, the day before the special election.
"There were no promises made about employment," Jolly said. "It wouldn’t be appropriate to do that."
Jolly did not attend an event Friday morning honoring Congressman Young by renaming the Bay Pines VA Medical Center as the "C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center."
He had been scheduled to be the first guest speaker at the event - and was listed as such in the program - but said that he had a commitment to attended a memorial service for a retired Navy Seal.
"It’s something Mr. Young would have done, to be honest," he said.
Jolly said the decision was not related to Beverly Young’s comments this week.