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Man Told to 'Get a Job' by Rep. Young Speaks Out

Last week when Pepe Kovanis pressed Congressman Bill Young about minimum wage, Young told him to "get a job". Now Kovanis is asking for an apology from Rep. Young.

At the entrance of what will soon be Pepe Kovanis stood among supporters and the press asking for an apology from Congressman C.W. "Bill" Young.

"I would like an apology for not only myself but for low wage workers around the country," Kovanis told Patch. "I think he has insulted them with his remarks to ‘get a job’. I think that he has failed his responsibilities as a representative. He is suppose to listen to his constituents not belittle them."

Last week, Kovanis was protesting for the increase of minimum wage. He pressed Young about minimum wage in Florida and was by Rep. Young. The video of the exchange went viral, which led to Young saying he did not understand the nature of Kovanis' question

The exchange, which was captured on video, was first highlighted by FLDemocracy and also reported by The Huffington Post:

"Jesse Jackson Jr. is passing a bill around to increase the minimum wage to 10 bucks an hour. Would you support that?" said the voter. 

"Probably not," replied Young, adding, "How about getting a job?"

The young man has a job, as he told the congressman: "I do have one." He said he makes $8.50 an hour.

"Well then, why do you want that benefit? Get a job," reiterated Young.

Florida's minimum wage pays $7.67 an hour, slightly above the federal level of $7.25.

According to 10 News, Young said while he didn't understand the question, he would not support raising minimum wage to $10 an hour. 

"I misunderstood the question, but the no answer would have been the same because a 35 percent increase in the minimum wage would destroy many small businesses."

On Friday, Kovanis said it is important that people who work 40 hours a week deserve a living wage. The current minimum wage, he said, does not afford that. 

"My whole life I’ve worked minimum wage jobs. I know what it’s like to struggle working these kind of jobs," Kovanis told Patch. "It's very difficult just to get by let alone to get ahead … It’s almost impossible."

He said while $10 is not great, it is much better than what is available now. 

"It’s a livable wage. It would definitely benefit anyone who is making under it," he said. "It would increase the quality of life for millions of people. It would help out our local economy. Give people extra spending money and they in turn would use at our local businesses, who in turn would hire more people." 

Kovanis is now attempting to take his financial future into his own hands by starting his own business. Last week Kovanis started Edible Gardens, which is an organic gardening and sustainable living company.

Edible Gardens, Kovanis said, installs organic flowerbeds for customers and sells organic products. 

Once he starts hiring employees, Kovanis said, "I will pay them above and beyond minimum wage."

rick barasso July 15, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Let's see how the Rigjt spins this to make this idiot Young look good
Merrill July 15, 2012 at 04:11 PM
@ Terry...when minimum wage is NOT fair, it costs taxpayers more in supplying services to those who are defined as "working poor". Housing, food, health care are all essential to life. Even when working TWO minimum wage jobs this is almost impossible. Do the math: a 30hr job @ $7.67hr earns one $11,000 a year... FYI, most small businesses generally are better paying than WalMart, etc who try never to pay more than the minimum wage. How much do YOU think it takes to live a minimal existance? Calculate, then try it! Congressman Young has been in his job too long...his voting record has been shameful in not protecting his constituents. Plus he is one of the "Kings" of the earmark...we all pay for that. Vote for new blood from Florida in Congress...PLEASE.
luella frank July 16, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Bill Young needs to retire without benefits and he needs to try to find a job...better he should get a job paying minimum wage and pay for his own health care...and he doesn't need retirement benefits either...let him see how the 99% live!
monique thomas July 16, 2012 at 02:44 AM
It's a beautiful day in America. I applaud Mr. Kovanis as he flaps his entrepreneurial wings. Minimum wage is another one of the biggest economic hoaxes to be cast upon the hardworking people of this land. One of the highest rates of unemployment now fall in the areas of ages 16-24. Before minimum wage laws took over the lowest paying jobs were taken by a new wave of entry-level workers. They would gain more skills and then move up to the next level if that was their desire and ability. In Mr. Kavanis' case he has an interest where he is willing to invest his capital of some combination of dollars and sweat equity to achieve his American Dream. I wish him all the best pursuing happiness and that he doesn't find himself making less than minimum wage himself at anytime after all the bills are paid to cover the cost of goods sold, overhead, employee wages and payroll taxes, employee benefits, regulatory compliance and IRS payments, fees. state and local taxes etc, etc, etc. As for Congressman Young...his inability to effectively communicate with his constituency would give anyone reason to pause. During the Aug. 14 primary, a hardworking citizen statesman is coming on the field. Take a look at Darren Ayres www.darrenayresforcongress.com/about-darren . Darren has been endorsed by www.GOOOH.com Congressman Young has served his country well, but 42 years--it's time to move on. Darren believes in getting in, doing the job and coming home like our Founders envisioned.
Michael D. July 16, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I love how people believe that increasing the minimum wage will automatically make things better. Lets look at the facts. You raise the cost of the minimum wage, costs of all good are increases as well for manufactures and store owners to recoup the lost money from wages. So $10 will be worth what $7.67 is worth now, so the minimum wage earns will be earning the same value as before. And anyone who earns more than that, and didn't get a cost of living wage will have a reduced value of their wage. Like State Employees who do regular jobs, some of which haven't seen an increase in 5 years. But the State Senate has taken care of itself through increases. The minimum wage in this state has risen over 76% in the last 12 years, and the purchase value of the dollar has dropped 40% in that time. Flooding the market with money through minimum wage pay doesn't help anyone but the CEO's that can write it off as a tax credit. The minimum wage earns have the same value to their dollar, and middle class citizens purchasing value drops. The minimum wage laws hurt all lower and middle income Americans.

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