Rep. Ted Yoho receives top award from Japan as he retires from Congress
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) says representing the people of Florida’s third Congressional district has been one of the greatest honors of his life. In his final days in office, he speaks with Washington News Bureau Reporter Alana Austin about his reflections and what the next chapter might look like.
Republican Congressman Ted Yoho closes out his time on Capitol Hill by receiving the Order of the Rising Sun, a top diplomatic distinction recognizing his contributions to strengthening America’s ties with Japan.
“It was quite an honor to be able to get a call from the Ambassador to Japan and say that the emperor of Japan has chosen me to receive the Order of the Rising Sun and it was a shock and just a humbling experience,” said Yoho.
The ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific says this award recognizes his office’s commitment to promoting peace, stability and economic partnerships overseas.
“If you have good, strong foreign policy, you have good economics…you have strong trade policies and then that leads to strong national security,” said Yoho.
Yoho says Japan is a key ally in tackling thorny issues like North Korea and the nuclear weapons threat, as well as China’s accelerating militarization.
“The importance of this relationship – not just between us and Japan – but the Five Eyes, and then the trilateral relationship between us Japan and South Korea is paramount to security in the Indo-Pacific region and it’s something we need to put more effort in, and I’m glad to see that Congress is finally doing that,” said Yoho, referring to the various intelligence partnerships involving the U.S. and its allies.
As Yoho reflects over the past eight years, he says he’s most proud of his work revamping America’s foreign aid system through the BUILD Act, a bipartisan law that aims to curb global poverty and conflict abroad. Yoho says he’s also proud of his work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to boost financial resources for farmers.
“We look back at the work we’ve done on agriculture for the state of Florida I think has been significant,” said Yoho. “We’ve left legislation in place like the foot and mouth disease bank that got put into the farm bill. That’ll be there forever for this country and that deals with food security.”
While Yoho says he greatly enjoys this job, he’s keeping the term limits promise he made to voters and retiring.
“I learned a long time ago from my parents, my dad and football coaches, and people I admired that, you’re only as good as your word,” explained Yoho. “There’s really another generation ready to step in and I think do as much as you can the best you can and then pass the baton off.”
Yoho says in these divisive times, officials – on both sides of the aisle – should focus less on party politics and more on delivering real leadership for everyday Americans.
“If we focus on what’s best for America, I think everybody wins,” said Yoho.
Yoho says he looks forward to spending time on the water with his family, from the Keys to North Florida. Down the road, he hopes find new ways to work on the policy issues he cares about most: foreign affairs and agriculture.
As Yoho departs Washington, his successor is former aide, GOP Congresswoman-elect Kat Cammack. She’ll be sworn in on January 3rd on Capitol Hill.
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