The veterinary profession made a strong showing in Capitol Hill visits on Aug. 1 during AVMA Convention 2019 in Washington, D.C. About 175 volunteer leaders, mostly members of the AVMA House of Delegates and AVMA Board of Directors, attended more than 220 meetings with lawmakers and their staffs in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate; the visits were all organized by the AVMA Government Relations Division. They discussed issues important to the veterinary profession and AVMA legislative priorities.
One group of practitioners from Washington state—comprising Drs. Debra C. Sellon, alternate delegate for the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians; Elizabeth Hardy, alternate delegate for the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners; Diana Thomé, alternate delegate for Washington state; and Saundra E. Willis, delegate for Washington state—met with their state's junior senator, Sen. Maria Cantwell. The four talked about the Fairness to Pet Owners Act and the Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act.
This was the AVMA's largest Hill event ever. The annual AVMA legislative fly-in usually is held in the spring to educate the nation's policymakers on issues of importance to the veterinary profession and draws around 100 veterinary students and veterinarians.
Earlier that day, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida addressed the HOD when he received the 2019 AVMA Advocacy Award. In his acceptance remarks, Dr. Yoho talked about his efforts to advance the veterinary profession's interests on matters including drug portability, transporting livestock, and eradicating screwworm.
"People ask, 'You used to be a veterinarian, right?' And I say I'll be a vet forever because this job only lasts two years at a time," he said.