Senate votes to confirm Tom Vilsack for second run as agriculture secretary

U.S. & World

WASHINGTON – JULY 21: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks during a news conference at the Agriculture Department July 21, 2010 in Washington, DC. Vilsack personally apologized to Shirley Sherrod, an Agriculture Department employee who was forced to resign because of a controversial video showing her giving remarks at a NAACP function that were deemed at the time racially discriminatory. He then offered her a “unique” position to work on civil rights issues at the USDA. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The United States Senate on Tuesday voted 92-7 to confirm Tom Vilsack for a second run as agriculture secretary.

Vilsack spent eight years as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Obama administration and served two terms as Iowa governor.

President Joe Biden’s relationship with Vilsack goes back decades. He was an early supporter of Biden’s first campaign for president in 1988 while Vilsack was the mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa. He endorsed Biden a year before the 2020 election and campaigned tirelessly for him in Iowa, the nation’s first caucus state. Biden adopted aspects of Vilsack’s rural policy agenda as Democrats look to make up ground they’ve lost to Republicans in rural areas over the past decade,

Vilsack entered politics in large part because of tragedy when the mayor of Mount Pleasant was gunned down at a city council meeting in 1986. Vilsack, then a young lawyer, had grown up in Pittsburgh and moved with his wife, Christie, to her Iowa hometown. He was recruited to seek the mayor’s office, then served two terms in the Iowa Senate before being the first Democrat to win the governorship in 30 years.

After two terms, Vilsack ran a 10-week campaign for the 2008 Democratic nomination before withdrawing and throwing his support to Hillary Clinton, even as Biden was among the field. Vilsack was a finalist for Clinton’s running mate that year.

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