|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Florida's 3rd district
January 3, 2013
Theodore Scott Yoho
April 13, 1955
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
University of Florida (BS, DVM)
Theodore Scott Yoho (born April 13, 1955) is the United States Representative for Florida's 3rd congressional district since 2013. He is a member of the Republican Party. In the 2012 Republican primary election for the district, Yoho pulled a major upset against long term incumbent U.S. Congressman Cliff Stearns, who was first elected in 1988. Yoho has been a veterinarian and small business owner for the past 30 years, serving the North Central Florida area.
Yoho was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 13, 1955. At the age of 11 he moved to Florida with his family, where he attended school with his future wife, Carolyn, in the 4th grade. Yoho earned his AA degree at Broward Community College. He earned a bachelor's degree in Animal Science at the University of Florida in 1983 and attended the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, where he received his DVM. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Florida Veterinary Medical Association, Florida Association of Equine Practitioners, Florida Cattlemen's Association, and the National Rifle Association.
Yoho ran for the newly-redrawn Florida's 3rd congressional district. In the Republican primary he defeated longtime incumbent U.S. Congressman Cliff Stearns (who was first elected in 1988), State Senator Steve Oelrich, and Clay County Clerk of Court James Jett 34%-33%-19%-14%. Yoho defeated Stearns by 829 votes, or a 1.1 percentage point margin. Yoho won 11 of the district's 13 counties. Stearns only carried Marion, his home county, and Clay County. Stearns had endorsements from U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann, and Allen West.
Yoho took office on January 3, 2013. He is a member of the Tea Party Caucus and the House Liberty Caucus. He supports reduction in taxes: replacing the current tax code with the Fair Tax (a broad national consumption tax on retail sales), reducing corporate tax rates, and eliminating federal programs that cannot be balanced with revenues. According to the CBO, there would still be a deficit even if all discretionary spending (all Federal programs except pensions, Medicare and Social Security) were stopped. Yoho is for reducing spending and reducing taxes, though has not yet introduced a plan that will lead to a balanced budget.
Yoho also is opposed to raising the debt ceiling unless significant spending cuts are made; he is also opposed to earmarks in legislation. His district is one of the lowest-taxed in Florida, located primarily within Suwannee River Management District (lower proportion of property taxes), per capita retail sales in the district are significantly lower than the state average, and it has the fewest non-farm related businesses of Florida's congressional districts. Yoho has not made any indication on his level support of the farm bill.
In 2015, Yoho mounted a campaign to challenge John Boehner for the Speakership of the US House of Representatives in an attempt to get the conference to the second ballot. The block of dissenting members were 4 votes shy of achieving their goal. Of the 435 congressmen and congresswomen eligible to vote, Yoho received only two votes.
Yoho and his Democratic colleague John Conyers offered bipartisan amendments to block the U.S. military training of Ukraine's Azov Battalion of the Ukrainian National Guard. Some members of the battalion are openly white supremacists.
In 2013, he became widely known for his position on breaching the debt ceiling and defaulting on the national debt, which he claimed "would bring stability to the world markets." This position was widely panned by Democrats and some Republicans such as fellow Republican Reid Ribble, who called the position "crazy talk."
During his first term of office, Yoho sponsored a total of eighteen bills. One of the bills introduced during his first term, the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act of 2014, was passed by the House, but never voted on by the Senate.
Yoho co-authored the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2014 (H.R. 1528; 113th Congress), a bill that would amend the Controlled Substances Act to clarify that veterinarians are not required to have separate registrations to dispense controlled substances outside of their principal place of business, such as when treating animals on a farm.
Yoho is a co-sponsor of the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 (H.R. 3134). It has not moved since passing the House on September 18, 2015.
On June 9, 2016, Yoho voted "Nay," on the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA, H.R. 5278) to restructure Puerto Rican debt. The Republican-authored bill passed the House with bilateral support from both major parties.
Yoho has stated that "the right to bear arms is a birthright and should never be threatened." Yoho is a gun owner. He supports concealed carry laws and carries his gun with him when at home in Florida. Yoho has compared carrying a gun to the likes of carrying a cell phone in one's pocket. He says "I have the right to protect myself," regarding concealed carry and "I feel like I have a very good aim. My wife is better." He has co-sponsored bills to allow lawmakers to carry guns at the US Capitol and additional bills to allow individuals to carry guns nationwide, regardless of state law. In 2012, Yoho stated, "I am proud to say I hold an A rating from the NRA". From 2015-2016, Yoho accepted US$1,000 in direct campaign contributions from the NRA's Political Victory Fund; from 2012-2018, his total is US$4,000 from NRA sources.
In March 2017, Yoho voted in favor of the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which would have allowed veterans who are considered "mentally incompetent" to purchase ammunition and firearms unless declared a danger by a judge. The measure passed the House of Representatives, but ultimately stalled in the Senate. Yoho was of the original co-sponsors of H.J.Res.40, which successfully used the Congressional Review Act to block implementation of an Obama-era Amendment to the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 that was aimed at preventing the mentally-infirm from legally purchasing firearms.
Yoho is pro-life. He believes there should be strict protection laws for fetuses, stating "How can we as a nation have laws that protect the sea turtle or bald eagle, but yet refuse to protect the same of our own species?" He has described abortion as a "hideous practice. It needs to stop."
Yoho urged the Trump administration to impose sanctions against Chinese officials who are responsible for human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority in China's northwestern Xinjiang region. In March 2019, Yoho and other lawmakers wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that read in part, "This issue is bigger than just China. It is about demonstrating to strongmen globally that the world will hold them accountable for their actions."
Yoho has a "B" rating from NORML, indicating a mixed voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Yoho is against veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence. He supports industrial hemp farming. He voted in favor of preventing the DEA from funding the stop of medical marijuana operations in the states where they are legally operating.
Yoho voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Yoho acknowledges that the bill is "not perfect." He believes the bill will "simplify the tax code" and "lighten the burden on all Americans" including middle-class families.