Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2010, 2nd term.

Born: January 8, 1976, Hutchinson

Home: Overland Park

Education: U. of KS, B.A. 1999, J.D. 2002.

Professional Career: Practicing atty., 2002-10.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Methodist

Family: Married (Brooke)

Republican Kevin Yoder, who won his seat in 2010, was an energetic and thoughtful star of his freshman class, but his image took a serious hit after it emerged in 2012 that he took a nude swim in the Sea of Galilee during a trip with other House members.

Yoder grew up on a farm in the aptly named town of Yoder, founded in 1907 by an Amish settler. His family has been there since the 1880s, and hundreds of Yoders live in the area. His father’s farm produces grains, soybeans, corn, and meat. His maternal grandfather, William Alexander, who grew up as a poor farmer, was the Republican mayor of Wilmette, Ill., and president of the Chicago Bar Association. As a child, Yoder recalls visits to his grandfather in downtown Chicago, drawing inspiration from him. Yoder studied English and political science at the University of Kansas, where he was student body president.

He was a registered Democrat before undergoing what he calls his own “personal maturation and growth” and switching to become a Republican. During his senior year in college and into law school, he volunteered in campaigns and interned at the state legislature. He worked as a law clerk at the Pentagon in Washington doing counter-narcotics work. He left a month before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, an event that inspired him to get more involved with politics. Yoder was elected to the Kansas House in 2002 at age 26, and got a seat on the Appropriations Committee, where he had interned in college. He eventually chaired the committee.

When Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore announced he would not seek another term, Yoder jumped into the race. His state legislative district, which includes some of Overland Park and the headquarters of Sprint, gave him access to a large donor base, and his acumen at fundraising—more than $800,000 by summer 2010—forced the early GOP front-runner, state Sen. Nick Jordan, out of the race. Yoder’s primary opponents pointed to his party switch as evidence of flip-flopping on issues. But Yoder managed to win the nine-person contest with 44% of the vote.

In the fall, his Democratic opponent was Stephene Moore, the wife of the retiring incumbent and a nurse by trade. She supported President Barack Obama’s health care bill while Yoder opposed it. He also came out against reinstating the estate tax, which affects many family farms, while Moore said she favored keeping the tax but at lower rates.

Moore also seized on a Topeka Capital-Journal report that Yoder refused to take a preliminary breath test during a 2009 traffic stop. Yoder pleaded guilty to refusing a law enforcement officer’s request and was fined $165. His campaign said that he wasn’t drunk and that he refused the test because he had passed a field sobriety test. Moore, meanwhile, was criticized for going too far in running an ad comparing Yoder to celebrities Lindsay Lohan and Mel Gibson. The Kansas City Star endorsed Yoder, calling him “quick-witted and thoughtful,” and saying he “could be a force in Congress.” He won 58% to 39%.

In the House, Yoder was given a seat on the Appropriations Committee. Though he voted a strongly conservative line, he avoided the anti-government rhetoric of his fellow freshmen and joined Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline’s Common Ground Caucus. He was among the few Republicans to refuse to sign activist Grover Norquist’s pledge never to raise taxes, saying no one can predict the future. But like his fellow freshmen, he voted against the 2011 bipartisan deal to raise the debt limit. In August, 2011, Yoder introduced a bill to ban the issuing of $1 coins for 15 years as a way of saving money; the Treasury Department later suspended the coins’ production.

Yoder ran unopposed in the August 2012 GOP primary and had no Democratic opposition for the fall. Later that month, however, news reports indicated that during a fact-finding trip to Israel the previous summer, several House freshmen took a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee, a pilgrimage site for Christians. The members remained clothed, but Yoder shed his, prompting a rebuke from Majority Leader Eric Cantor as well as an avalanche of negative publicity.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called the incident “reprehensible,” while comic David Letterman turned it into a list of “Top 10 Congressman Kevin Yoder Excuses.” A chastened Yoder apologized, but the Star predicted that the controversy would prove to be “more than a speed bump in a man’s ambitious career.” In November, Yoder was reelected, but libertarian Joel Balam, a college professor who raised less than $3,200 to Yoder’s $1.7 million, managed to draw 32% of the vote.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2865

(202) 225-2807

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 215
Washington, DC 20515-1603

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2865

(202) 225-2807

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 215
Washington, DC 20515-1603

DISTRICT OFFICE

(913) 621-0832

(913) 621-1533

7325 West 79th Street
Overland Park, KS 66204-2908

DISTRICT OFFICE

(913) 621-0832

(913) 621-1533

7325 West 79th Street
Overland Park, KS 66204-2908

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(913) 232-7201

5817 West 100th Terrace
Overland Park, KS 66207-3029

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

5817 West 100th Terrace
Overland Park, KS 66207-3029

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Aerospace

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Arts

Taylor Huhn
Legislative Correspondent

Budget

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Commerce

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Communication

CJ Grover
Press Secretary

cj.grover@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2865

Crime

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Education

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Family

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Health

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Human Rights

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Intergovernmental

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Internet

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Judiciary

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Labor

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Land Use

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Medicare

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Military

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Science

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Technology

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Telecommunications

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Trade

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Joe Eannello
Legislative Director

Veterans

Michael Brooks
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Kevin Yoder
Votes: 201,087
Percent: 68.45%
Joel Balam
Votes: 92,675
Percent: 31.55%
2012 PRIMARY
Kevin Yoder
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Kevin Yoder
Votes: 136,246
Percent: 58.4%
Stephene Moore
Votes: 90,193
Percent: 38.66%
2010 PRIMARY
Kevin Yoder
Votes: 32,210
Percent: 44.42%
Patricia Lightner
Votes: 26,695
Percent: 36.82%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (58%)

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