Kevin W. Yoder (born January 8, 1976) is the U.S. Representative for Kansas's 3rd congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party. He was the Kansas State Representative for the 20th district from 2002 until 2011.
Early life, education, and career
Yoder is a 5th generation Kansan who grew up on a grain and livestock farm in Yoder, Kansas, a small farming town outside of Hutchinson, Kansas. Yoder graduated from Hutchinson High School.
Yoder graduated from the University of Kansas in 1999 with degrees in English and Political Science.
He served as KU Student Body President, President of the Kansas Union Memorial Corporation Board of Directors, and a member of the KU Athletics Corporation Board of Directors and became a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. While at the University of Kansas, Yoder interned with the Kansas State Legislature. Yoder received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kansas Law School in 2002, where he served for two years as Student Bar Association President.
Yoder worked as a law clerk for Payne and Jones from 2000 to 2001, then as a Special Assistant in the U.S. Department of Defense's Office of Counternarcotics in Washington, D.C. in 2001.
He later joined Speer and Holliday LLP in Olathe as an Associate, becoming a Partner in 2005. He is a member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders and Kansas Bar Association, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Johnson County Bar Association.
Yoder was first elected to the Kansas House of Representatives (20th district) in 2002, then re-elected three times. The district includes portions of Overland Park and Leawood.
As chair of the House Appropriations Committee, he had the responsibility to balance the state’s budget and allocate over $13 billion in state revenue to public schools, universities, prisons, social services and highways. In March 2010, Yoder's Appropriations Committee introduced its budget plan. The plan was soundly defeated by a bipartisan group of moderate republicans and democrats in May 2010.
He also served on the Judiciary Committee from 2003 through 2010.
In 2010, Yoder received the "Guardian of Small Business Award" from the National Federation of Independent Business.
U.S. House of Representatives
On December 15, 2009, Rep. Kevin Yoder announced his intention to run for the open seat. On August 3, 2010, Yoder won the Republican primary with 45% of the vote, running against former State Representative Patricia Lightner, Dave King, Gerry B. Klotz, Daniel Gilyeat, Jerry M.
Malone, Craig McPherson, John Rysavy and Jean Ann Uvodich.
During the campaign, Yoder set up a website in Stephene Moore's, his Democratic opponent's, name at stephenemoore.com. The site was used to raise questions about her campaign and issue stances. Moore's campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Committee about the website. An "unauthorized committee" is not allowed to use the name of a candidate in the title of a special project or message if it "clearly and unambiguously" shows opposition to the named candidate. The FEC dismissed the complaint against Yoder.
Yoder also created controversy when he released a commercial depicting him and his wife walking through a field with three children that, presumably, were their children.
In fact, Yoder does not have any kids. This controversy was similar to one from one of his campaigns for the Kansas Legislature. In that election, Yoder issued a campaign ad with photos of him, his wife, two kids, and a dog. Neither the kids nor the dog were Yoder's.
Yoder won against Democratic nominee obstetrics nurse Stephene Moore and Libertarian nominee Jasmin Talbert with 59% of the vote. Yoder outperformed prior Republican election year results in heavily Democratic Wyandotte and Douglas counties by 50 percent and took voter-rich, Republican-leaning Johnson County with a resounding 65 percent of the vote. Yoder's win returned the 3rd district to the GOP after a 12-year hold by retiring Democratic incumbent Dennis Moore, the husband of Stephene Moore.
In February 2009, Yoder plead guilty to refusing a roadside preliminary Breathalyzer test, following a 2:31 a.m. traffic stop on the K-10 expressway. Yoder was pulled over for speeding and, after declining the officer's request to take a roadside breath test, Yoder took and passed a field sobriety test. The officer cited Yoder for speeding and for refusing to take the breathalyzer test, and then the officer let Yoder drive himself home. The speeding charge was later dropped as part of a plea agreement. Yoder pleaded guilty to refusing law enforcement's request for a breath test and paid a $165 fine.
On August 31, 2011 it was announced that Yoder has been appointed by Speaker of the House John Boehner, to serve on the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees. Chartered in 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln, Gallaudet University is the world’s only liberal arts university for the deaf and hard of hearing that offers a bilingual learning environment in American Sign Language and English. The university is located in Washington, D.C., within walking distance of the U.S. Capitol.
Yoder participated in the recitation of a redacted version of the U.S. Constitution by members of congress on Thursday, January 6, 2011. The event marked the first time the text of the nation's founding document had ever been read on the House floor.
In 2011, Yoder was named one of Kansas City's "40 Under 40" by Ingram's Kansas City Business Magazine.
In early 2011, Yoder was rated as one of the "Hottest Freshmen in Congress" by both MSNBC's BLTWY blog and Gawker.com.
Yoder and his wife, Brooke Robinson Yoder, live in Overland Park.
November 11th, 2011