Born: December 13, 1950 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Spouse: Christie Vilsack (m. 1973 – present)
Children: Jess Vilsack, Doug Vilsack
30th United States Secretary of Agriculture (2009 – present)
40th Governor of Iowa (1999 – 2007)
Member of the Iowa Senate from the 49th district (1993 – 1999)
Mayor of Mount Pleasant (1987 – 1992)
Political Party: Democratic
Facts about Tom Vilsack
Vilsack met his wife, Ann Christine “”Christie”” Bell, in a cafeteria while at college in New York in October 1968. Vilsack took the oath of office both times with his hand on a Bible his mother gave him when he was 16. When the mayor of Mount Pleasant was shot and killed by an angry citizen during a City Council meeting, Vilsack decided to run for the office.
In 1998, Vilsack was elected governor; he was the first Democrat to hold the office in Iowa in more than 30 years. He was re-elected in 2002. Was thought to be a possible running mate for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. From 2000 through 2006, Vilsack made an annual “”walk across Iowa”” to meet constituents.
He currently is a partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP and a distinguished fellow at Iowa State University’s Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products. A strong supporter of rural growth and renewable energy, Vilsack has been selected by President-elect Obama as secretary of agriculture.
As governor, Vilsack signed into law a 2005 change that allowed convicted felons to vote after serving their sentences. Some 80,000 ex-cons became eligible to vote because of the change.
Tom Vilsack Childhood
Born on December 13, 1950 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Tom Vilsack was placed in a Roman Catholic orphanage. He was adopted in 1951 by Bud and Dolly Vilsack. Bud Vilsack was a real-estate agent and insurance salesman.
Vilsack attended Shady Side Academy, a preparatory high school in Pittsburgh. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1972 from Hamilton College in New York. While at Hamilton he joined the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. He received a Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1975 from Albany Law School. He and his wife settled in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in 1975.