The AVMA Political Action Committee hosted a fundraiser Nov. 30, 2005, for AVMA member Dr. Ford Bell, a candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota.
The event, to which all veterinarians in the D.C. metro area were invited, was held at the AVMA Washington office. The crowd of supporters and veterinarians conversed with Dr. Bell and listened to his platform, which includes supporting funding for the National Veterinary Medical Service Act and National Veterinary Workforce Expansion Act.
"I am very proud to be running for the U.S. Senate as a veterinarian," Dr. Bell said. "Veterinarians are continually recognized as one of the most respected professions among the American public, (and) are often leaders in charitable and civic organizations and central figures in local communities. We have been quite successful in the recent polls, and I believe that being a veterinarian is a major factor in that success."
Dr. Bell, a 1982 graduate of the University of Minnesota, is a former professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine and practiced small animal medicine in Minnesota. Most recently, he has served as president of the Minnesota Heart Institute Foundation, one of the nation's leading cardiovascular research organizations.
AVMA President Henry E. Childers attended the reception and gave Dr. Bell's introduction. Dr. Childers said, "Dr. Bell's experience in veterinary medicine as a private practitioner, an educator, a small business owner, and a public health official make him the perfect representative on behalf of the veterinary profession on Capitol Hill."
Dr. Bell, a Democrat, is running for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Mark Dayton. The Democratic primary includes two other candidates, neither of whom, according to Dr. Bell, is speaking about the issues that are important to Minnesotans and the nation. If Dr. Bell wins the primary in May 2006, he will advance to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Rep. Mark Kennedy, in the general election.
Currently, there are two veterinarians serving in the U.S. Congress: Sen. Wayne Allard (COL '68) from Colorado and Sen. John Ensign (COL '85) from Nevada. If elected, Dr. Bell would be the third veterinarian to serve in the Congressional Veterinary Caucus and the only Democrat. Additionally, AVMA member Dr. Andy Michaud is running for the Democratic nomination in Florida's 24th Congressional District against incumbent Rep. Tom Feeney. The entry of veterinary candidates such as these will only help to promote the profession on Capitol Hill.
For information about the Dr. Ford Bell campaign, visit fordbell.com. For more information about the AVMAPAC, contact Tim Foltyn, grassroots coordinator, at (800) 321-1473, Ext. 3206, or tfoltynavma [dot] org.