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February 01, 2020

Congressman Ted Yoho to retire

Published on January 15, 2020
Dr. Yoho
U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho speaks to the AVMA House of Delegates after receiving the AVMA Advocacy Award in 2019. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, a veterinarian who represents Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, announced in December that he will not seek reelection.

The Republican was first elected in 2012 after he ran as a Tea Party member and vowed to change up the political machine. Florida’s 3rd Congressional District encompasses Gainesville, Palatka, and other parts of northern Florida.

Dr. Yoho believes that being a veterinarian helped prepare him for his work in Congress, as previously reported by JAVMA News in 2019. Dr. Yoho owned and operated several large animal veterinary practices for 30 years before getting into politics.

His work in office includes co-founding and co-chairing the Veterinary Medicine Caucus with U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, a veterinarian and Democrat who represents Oregon’s 5th Congressional District. The caucus has worked to highlight animal-related legislation. Dr. Yoho is also a member of the House Agriculture Committee.

“Since Congressman Yoho took office, he has been a tireless advocate for veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Kent McClure, AVMA chief government relations officer. “From championing legislation like the PAST (Prevent All Soring Tactics) Act and the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act to meeting with veterinary students, Rep. Yoho has been incredibly generous with his time and support. The veterinary profession is immeasurably better off thanks to his work.”

In 2019, Dr. Yoho received the AVMA Advocacy Award for his work to advance veterinary-related legislation.

Dr. Yoho said in a statement about his retirement that he believes in term limits.

“I ran on a pledge to serve four terms—eight years and come home. Many told me I was naive and they’re probably right. I was told the district has changed three times and so the pledge isn’t binding and I could rationalize that. However, I truly believe a person’s word is their bond and should live up to their word. I also meant that after eight years I would come home and pass the baton on to a new generation,” he said. “Now, I am doing that. My goal now is to serve the remainder of my term for the next year and do the best job I can for district three, the state of Florida and our great nation. It’s time for a new representative to take over the helm guiding our nation into the future.”

Dr. Yoho’s office could not be reached for comment at press time in mid-December.

Dr. Yoho has sponsored and co-sponsored several pieces of animal-related legislation over the last eight years, including the following:

  • U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2019 (HR 693).
  • The Horseracing Integrity Act (HR 1754).
  • Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act (HR 487).
  • Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act (HR 788).
  • Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2019 (HR 737).

“My goal was to leave this country a little better off for the next generation and to set a standard for the next congressman from this district,” Dr. Yoho said in the retirement statement. “Those results will be judged by history.”