Indiana veterinarian runs for Congress

Angela Demaree campaigns as voice of common-sense solutions
Published on March 16, 2016
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Dr. Angela Demaree had had enough of the partisan rancor in Washington, so in January, the 37-year-old Indiana native officially filed as a Democratic candidate for the state’s 5th congressional district.

“Like many Americans, I’m really tired of the increasing partisan divide and the do-nothing Congress,” Dr. Demaree explained. “Hoosiers want to end the partisan gridlock just as much as I do, and in these uncertain times, we need common-sense solutions, and we need our elected officials working together to solve problems.”

Dr. Angela Demaree (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

The sixth-generation Hoosier and Indianapolis resident is one of two candidates running to be the Democratic nominee, a race that will be determined May 3 when Indiana holds its primary election. The winner will face Republican incumbent Susan Brooks in the Nov. 8 general election.

Dr. Demaree has been endorsed by the Marion County Democratic Party, 5th Congressional District Democratic Committee, College Democrats of Indiana, Tipton County Democratic Committee, and Indiana Democratic Party. “Angela Demaree is an intelligent, energetic candidate that we are happy to be able to endorse,’’ said Linda Smeltzer, Tipton County Democratic chairman. “She will bring fresh ideas to Congress.’’

Since January, Dr. Demaree has been campaigning throughout the eight counties that make up Indiana’s 5th congressional district. If voters do send her to the House of Representatives, Dr. Demaree says she will forgo partisanship and work with Democrats and Republicans to address the challenges facing many Americans.

How exactly does she plan on accomplishing such an extraordinary feat in the more divisive of the two congressional chambers? By drawing on lessons learned over more than a decade as a veterinarian, that’s how.

“Veterinarians are a good example of how to work together to solve problems. We do that every day,” explained Dr. Demaree, who received her DVM degree from Purdue University in 2002. “We don’t argue about the nuance of treatment while our patients get worse. We work together, we take informed action, and then we get out of our patients’ way as they recover. I think Americans would be well-served to have a Congress that did the same thing.”

While a veterinary student, she served an externship with the AVMA Governmental Relations Division in Washington, D.C., during which she wrote an issue brief on a legislative amendment strengthening prohibitions against animal fighting and lobbied members of Congress to support the Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act, enacted in 2004.

Dr. Angela Demaree, shown here speaking with a farmer at an equine facility, highlights her veterinary career while campaigning in Indiana’s 5th congressional district.

After graduating, Dr. Demaree practiced companion animal and equine medicine before joining the AVMA staff in 2007 as an associate director of the GRD. Three years later, she went to work for the Indiana Horse Racing Commission as its equine medical director. 

Dr. Demaree said she gained additional leadership skills as an officer in the Army Reserve. In 2009, she was commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserve Veterinary Corps and in 2012 was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“My Reserve unit, we were a very diverse group of people, and yet we were able to work together to accomplish a successful mission. Congress can do the same thing, and those are the leadership values that I will bring to the House,” she said.

Ensuring veterans have access to the high-quality health care they earned is a top priority for Dr. Demaree, who is currently a captain in the Army Reserve.

On the stump, Dr. Demaree talks about how her mother, Jacquie, has taught her about the key to success in life. “When I was 8, my mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and by the time I was in college, she was struggling to walk,” she recalled.

“Yet, every day as a quadriplegic, she continued teaching math to seventh-graders. That was an inspiration not just to me but to those students, that through hard work and determination and perseverance, you can succeed.

“Those are my values, and those are Hoosier values, and they’re what we need in our elected officials.”

Learn more about Dr. Demaree as well as her campaign here.