Florida veterinarian looks to capture congressional seat


Republican Ted Yoho relies on business success, conservative values in campaign.

Ted Yoho, DVM, of Gainesville, Fla., won the Republican primary for U.S. Congress in Florida’s third district Aug. 14 by slightly more than 800 votes--about 1 percentage point--over 12-term congressman Cliff Stearns, R-Florida 6th. Yoho, a Christian and conservative Republican, has practiced large animal medicine in North Central Florida for 29 years. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA), Florida Association of Equine Practitioners and the Florida Cattlemen’s Association.

In a nod to his experience as a large animal veterinarian, Yoho has run a political advertisement with actors dressed in suits slinging mud. In the voiceover Yoho narrates, "Career politicians: they’re like pigs feeding at the trough.”

As a career veterinarian, Yoho is using his lack of political experience to target those he sees as longtime Washington insiders such as Stearns. “Being a veterinarian and a business owner, I have a different perspective than the career politicians,” Yoho told DVM Newsmagazine. “I’ve been in the trenches on a daily basis.”

Yoho says his experience as a veterinarian to use diagnostics and create effective treatment plans for patients and clients will help him find success in public office. “We need to take that same mentality to Washington,” he says. This also applies to his game plan to help small business owners, including his fellow veterinarians. He says his main objective is “getting government out of the way of business.”

“No. 1--repeal Obamacare,” he says. Yoho believes the Affordable Healthcare Act prevents business owners from creating more jobs. Next, he plans to “help back off the regulations and mandates--they’re killing us.” He also wants to simplify the tax code.

Yoho supports the Fair Tax that plan to replace federal income taxes including capital gains through a single-rate, federal retail sales tax of 23 percent on new goods and services. He feels the elimination of capital gains tax would create an incentive for practice ownership and benefit those selling their practices. “That would be huge to the veterinary practice owner,” he says.

As for other problems facing the veterinary profession such as mounting student debt, Yoho supports public loan forgiveness programs, especially for large animal veterinarians working in rural areas. “I would love to see it dealt with at the state level,” he says. He believes that with a stabilized economy tuition costs will be reduced to the levels seen in the 1980s when he graduated. “I think loans are a valuable resource, but I’d rather see it in the private sector and keep the government out of it,” he says.

Supported by the Tea Party, Yoho lists American energy independence, immigration reform and the repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act as priorities of his political philosophy. Yoho will face Democrat J.R. Gaillot and independent write-in candidates Kenneth Willey, Michael Ricks and Philip Dodds for the congressional seat.

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