Birthdate: Jan. 8, 1976
Birth Place: Hutchinson, KS, United States
Residence: Overland Park, KS
First Elected: 2010
District: District 3
Kevin Yoder was born in Hutchinson, Kan. He received a bachelor's degree and a law degree from the University of Kansas.
Yoder was first elected to the Kansas House in 2002. He served as chairman of its budget-writing Appropriations Committee in 2009 and 2010.
He was elected to the U.S. House in 2010.
Yoder and his wife, Brooke, reside in Overland Park.
Kevin Yoder become known in August 2012 as, in the words of a New York Daily News online headline, the "skinny-dipping pol" for a brief, nude plunge into the sea in Israel where the Bible says Jesus walked on water.
The incident at the Sea of Galilee, a holy site for many Christians, occurred in August 2011 while Yoder was on a trip with other members of Congress. The incident didn't come to light for a year and brought Yoder international attention. He apologized for his 10-second swim and insisted that alcohol wasn't involved in his "spontaneous" decision to disrobe and go into the water.
The publicity from the event _ including a Top 10 list of mock excuses for it on David Letterman's late night show _ is not expected to cost him his seat. He entered the fall 2012 general election campaign with $1.1 million in campaign funds, and no Democratic opponent.
But the incident revived memories of a February 2009 incident when Yoder, then a Kansas House member, was cited by the state Highway Patrol for speeding and refusing to take a breath test following an early-morning traffic stop on a state highway in the Lawrence area. He later pleaded guilty to refusing to take the test and paid a $90 fine.
That traffic stop briefly caused ruffles during Yoder's successful 2010 run for Congress, but Yoder's campaign said he'd refused to take the breath test because he'd passed another field sobriety test and wasn't driving under the influence.
In 2010, he ran a fairly standard campaign for a Republican congressional candidate, criticizing President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats like then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
He successfully exploited voter unhappiness with retiring Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore's support for a financial industry bailout in 2008, the 2009 approximately $800 billion economic stimulus package and the 2010 health care reform bill. Though Moore did not seek re-election, his wife, Stephene, was the Democratic nominee.
Yoder was critical of the June 2012 decision by the Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the health care reform bill and pledged to work toward finding better solutions for health care.
"While I am disappointed with the court's decision, the Supreme Court ruling does not change the fact that this law is fundamentally flawed and unworkable. It will lower the quality, and increase the cost, of care for all Americans. It is a tremendous burden on small business and our struggling economic recovery, and we simply can't afford it," he said.
Yoder served eight years in the Kansas House. His appointment in 2009 as its Appropriations Committee chairman raised some eyebrows because of his youth. But he quickly showed enough mastery of budget details and political skills in framing fiscal issues to become a leading spokesman for GOP conservatives.
Yoder initially drew criticism from some conservative activists because his political views evolved over time. He was a Democrat until just before he filed to run for the Kansas House for the first time in 2002, but in Congress, he's been a reliable conservative GOP vote against Obama's agenda.
Source: Associated Press