Meeting Congressman Yoho

Last week, I wrote about the version of The Build Act that is currently working it’s way through The Senate (S. 2463). This week, fellow AVMA extern McKenna and I were able to meet one of the Congressmen who introduced The Build Act in The House (H.R. 5105)! Congressman Ted S. Yoho of Florida also happens to be a veterinarian and was great to talk to about The Build Act, his personal experience, and the role of veterinarians in the public sphere.

Congressman Yoho’s main interest in The Build Act concerns the importance of development finance efforts to build diplomatic relationships, competition with foreign development investors, and furthering US national security interests through soft power abroad. While Yoho is less concerned about the social impact of development finance, his interests align with federal aid organizations whose goal is to reduce poverty in the developing world. Yoho issued the following statement when introducing the act:

“U.S. foreign aid and development money, when properly implemented, are strong tools of diplomacy. When used effectively, these funds help improve our diplomatic, economic, and national security interests around the globe. Today’s introduction of the bipartisan BUILD Act will reform and modernize America’s approach to development finance making it more efficient and effective… Taking countries from aid to trade is the end goal. We want to help countries become robust trading partners with the United States. By doing so, we will be helping create stable, self-sufficient societies around the world and open new markets for U.S. goods and services.  There is truth to the saying a rising tide lifts all boats. The BUILD Act will help make this a reality.”

Congressman Yoho also had a lot of great advice for us regarding our careers as vets, emphasizing how important it is for new veterinary professionals to advocate for themselves and market their unique skillsets. While we didn’t get a chance to discuss student loans and federal repayment programs, it was interesting to hear about the way Yoho works in congress and how his colleagues value his expertise as a veterinary medical professional.