DES MOINES, Iowa — As reports show President-elect Joe Biden is expected to bring former Gov. Tom Vilsack back to the White House, members from both parties are praising Biden’s pick.
If appointed, this will be Vilsack’s third term as Secretary of Agriculture, after spending eight years as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Obama administration.
Jeff Link, co-chair of Focus on Rural America, called the news “terrific” for Iowa and the country.
“He’s been there before he knows the ropes,” he said. “It’s great news for Iowa that we have such a strong voice in such a high place in this new administration.”
The Associated Press reports Vilsack was selected in part because to ensure there is someone ready to run the department on day one, and because of the heightened hunger crisis the U.S. is facing — something Link said Vilsack has the experience to do.
“He spent a lot of time in his first tour of duty working on child nutrition, childhood obesity, school lunch programs,” Link said. “He really is a consensus builder he works across party lines and I just think he’s, he’s really a terrific fit. At this time it’s critically important.”
Vilsack will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate — and he has already gotten a sign of approval from Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.
“I felt he did a good job the eight years that he was Secretary of Agriculture under Obama, and I would look forward to four more years working with him,” Grassley said.
Iowa’s Republican Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, also expressed satisfaction with Biden’s choice.
“The ability to have somebody at the helm who’s been there before could hit the ground running immediately,” Naig said. “Tom Vilsack being a former governor, somebody who understands and appreciates that dynamic between the federal government and states and the partnership — those are good things.”