Definite change coming to Congress in 2015

By: AVMA Governmental Relations Division Staff

Although many lawmakers serve for decades, every national election brings new faces to Capitol Hill. This November, several lawmakers who would have easily won re-election have already opted to “hang it up,” either because they are fed up with Washington politics or in some cases are experiencing health concerns. Others may have faced harder paths to re-election due to primary challengers or shifts in the political winds, but they likely could have returned because gerrymandering has rendered most congressional districts “safe” for the incumbents.

As candidacy filing deadlines loom, the AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division (GRD) watches in anticipation to see which of our friends and allies in Washington will be leaving and where there may be opportunities to engage with new congressional districts in the future.

The GRD would like to recognize and thank the following representatives in particular for their dedication and support of veterinary and agriculture programs important to the veterinary profession while serving in Congress:

  • Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), who is the Senate sponsor of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act;
  • Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who was the former chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and has been serving on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, which oversees many programs of importance to animal health;
  • Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), who has a seat on the Agriculture Committee and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture;
  • Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), who introduced the Puppy Uniform Protection Safety (PUPS) Act (H.R. 847/S. 395);
  • Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa), who has supported key priorities for veterinary medicine while sitting on the House Appropriations Committee;
  • Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), who has been particularly helpful with support for the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank program and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, while serving on the House Agriculture Committee;
  • Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who most recently worked on the designation of K-9 Veterans Day for military working dogs and their handlers (H.Res. 116); and
  • Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), who introduced the Great Ape Reauthorization Amendments Act of 2013 (H.R. 1328).

Below is a summary of all of the members who will be leaving Congress at the end of this year.

The following House members have announced their retirements: Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.); Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.); John Campbell (R-Calif.); Howard Coble (R-N.C.); Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.); Tim Griffin (R-Ark.); Doc Hastings (R-Wash.); Tom Latham (R-Iowa); Jim Matheson (D-Utah); Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.); Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.); Buck McKeon (R-Calif.); Gary Miller (R-Calif.); George Miller (D-Calif.); Jim Moran (D-Va.); Bill Owens (D-N.Y.); Jon Runyan (R-N.J.); Henry Waxman (D-Calif.); and Frank Wolf (R-Va.).

Departing the Senate will be: Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.); Tom Coburn (R-Okla.); Tom Harkin (D-Iowa); Mike Johanns (R-Neb.); Tim Johnson (D-S.D.); Carl Levin (D-Mich.); and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).

A few lawmakers have resigned from Congress to take posts in the Obama administration. They are: former Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who is the current secretary of state; Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.), who is the current director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency; and  Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who was confirmed on Feb. 6 as the next ambassador to China.

A handful of House members resigned to pursue other opportunities, including: Reps. Rodney Alexander (R-La.); Robert Andrews (D-N.J.); Jo Bonner (R-Ala.); Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.); and Trey Radel (R-Fla.).

Twelve House members will seek election to the U.S. Senate. If they should lose in the November election, then they will not be returning to Washington. These members are: Bruce Braley (D-Iowa); Paul Broun (R-Ga.); Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.); Bill Cassidy (R-La.); Tom Cotton (R-Ark.); Steve Daines (R-Mont.); Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.); James Lankford (R-Okla.); Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii); Jack Kingston (R-Ga.); Gary Peters (D-Mich.); and Steve Stockman (R-Texas).

Two House members will run for governorships: Michael Michaud (D-Maine) and Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.).

In addition to the retiring and transitioning members, two lawmakers passed away in 2013: Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.).

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