Practitioner trades stethoscope for politics
Washington - After 30 years in private practice, Dr. R. Douglas Meckes takes on the role of lobbyist, championing the farm bill and animal welfare while promoting the veterinary profession.
WASHINGTON — After 30 years in private practice, Dr. R. Douglas Meckes takes on the role of lobbyist, championing the farm bill and animal welfare while promoting the veterinary profession.
With an assistant director title, Meckes readies to push the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) agenda in the Governmental Relations Division's (GRD) office. He fills the seat vacated by Dr. Jerry Rushin in 2005, one of six open positions in the Washington bureau.
The 60-year-old mixed animal practitioner considers the job a life goal. In 1989, he was struck by an advertisement for AVMA Congressional Science Fellows. "I tore the article out and said, 'Someday I'm going to apply for that.'"
Last year, he did. Upon accepting the job, he packed up his family in Apex, N.C., where he practiced and served as county commissioner for 10 years. From there, he landed in Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel's office to work on environmental, policy, research and agricultural affairs.
Now he's earned a permanent GRD seat.
"I see this as a wonderful opportunity for me," Meckes says. "I was just looking for new challenges and an opportunity to serve. What a way to finish up my career and serve the profession that's been so wonderful to me and my family."
With Meckes' hire, five open positions remain in the GRD office.
Newly authorized positions include an administrative assistant as well as a communications title that will be appointed after all other positions are filled. Other vacant Washington bureau seats include:
- Political action committee/grassroots coordinator
- Assistant director
- Legislative and policy and program coordinator.