By: Valerie Goddard, staff assistant, Governmental Relations Division
Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), who is serving his sixth term in Congress, is a member of the House Committees on Agriculture, Armed Services, Homeland Security and, recently, the Farm Bill Conference Committee. He has cosponsored the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act and the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act (VMLRPEA).
Q: What motivated you to join the veterinary caucus?
Rogers: Well, two reasons: One, I’m the only member of Congress that has two veterinary schools in his district, so obviously veterinary medicine and their school issues are something I want to stay on top of. Second, the whole reason for a caucus in Congress is to be in the loop on information, so you are aware and stay on top of things that are important to that subject matter area.
Q: What issues are important to you, and what are you doing to address those on a federal level?
Rogers: As a member of the Homeland Security Committee as well as a member of the Agriculture Committee, I’ve been focused on food safety and food security–the sources of our food supply that could be hindered in the event of a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. I’ve also been a supporter of H.R. 1125, the VMLRPEA. I’ve been a cosponsor of that bill because I represent a poor, rural congressional district, and that legislation would allow people who agree to practice in one of these underserved areas to have part of their tuition repaid, which would be good for an area like mine. As for the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, we have a little bit of a threat to some of our veterinarians for carrying medications across state lines and we want to make sure they are protected.
Q: Are there any particular issues that you are championing as a member of the Farm Bill Conference Committee?
Rogers: No, I’m just trying to get it done. We are so frustrated right now with the fact that it’s taken so long to get a Farm Bill to the point of potential passage that I just want to get this thing over with and hopefully establish some new, permanent law. I fear that this may be the last Farm Bill that is passed for a very long time. We need to modernize some of our safety net legislation, some of our permanent law, to make sure that if we can’t pass another Farm Bill in the near future, that at least the infrastructure that is in place will be adequate instead of going back to 1949 law.
Q: Are there areas that you would like to see the caucus become more involved in that perhaps could benefit from the collaborative knowledge?
Rogers: I’d like to see a little bit more attention paid to security issues. We have to remember that our food supply chain is vulnerable in the event that somebody could do real damage to our country. We’ve got to work to enhance the security around our food supply systems, not just the animals, but others as well.
Q: Do you have any pets?
Rogers: I have a dog. She’s a dog I got from an animal rescue organization a few years ago and her name is “W.” I named her after President Bush and she’s wonderful. She can’t wait for me to get home and hates to see me leave. She’s the only “person” in the house that likes me. And I also have a cat.