Tom Vilsack

State Governor

Born: 13 December 1950
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Best known as: The governor of Iowa, 1999-2007
Thomas Vilsack is the former Iowa governor who became the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Barack Obama in 2009. Vilsack was born in Pittsburgh and abandoned at a Catholic orphanage as an infant; he was adopted and raised by Bud and Dolly Vilsack. He attended Hamilton College in New York, where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1972. At Hamilton he met his future wife, Ann Christine Bell; they married in 1973. After Vilsack received a law degree from the University of Albany in 1975, he moved with his wife to her home state of Iowa, where Vilsack joined her father's law practice. Vilsack became mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa in 1987, moved up to the state senate in 1992, and then shocked the state by winning the governorship in 1998, becoming Iowa's first Democratic governor in 30 years. He served two full terms, from 1999-2007. In 2006 he announced he would run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, but dropped out of the race in 2007, saying he couldn't raise enough money to compete with other candidates. After Obama's election as president in 2008, he nominated Vilsack to head the Department of Agriculture.
Extra credit: Vilsack followed Republican Ed Schafer as Secretary of Agriculture... Vilsack's wife is known as Christie. They have two sons: Jess (born circa 1978) and Doug (born circa 1981)... According to Time, "Vilsack is an avid runner and ran a marathon in Arkansas in 2005 with the state's then-governor, Republican Mike Huckabee."

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