Tom Vilsack Fast Facts

Here's a look at the life of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Birth date:
December 13, 1950

Birth place: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Father: Bud Vilsack

    Mother: Dolly Vilsack

    Marriage: Christie (Bell) Vilsack (1973-present)

    Children: Jess; Doug

    Education: Hamilton College, B.A., 1972; Albany Law School J.D., 1975

    Other Facts:
    Was thought to be a possible running mate for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.

    Born into an orphanage, and was adopted as an infant by Bud and Dolly Vilsack.

    Ran for mayor of Mount Pleasant after his predecessor was shot and killed at a city council meeting.

    1975-1998 -
    Practices law.

    1987-1992 - Mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

    1992 - Wins election to the Iowa Senate.

    1998 - Becomes the first Democratic elected governor of Iowa in more than 30 years.

    January 15, 1999-January 12, 2007 - Governor of Iowa.

    2004 - Chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

    November 9, 2006 - Vilsack files a statement of candidacy to run for the White House in 2008 becoming the first prominent Democrat to do so.

    February 23, 2007 - Drops out of the 2008 presidential race.

    March 26, 2007 - Endorses Hillary Clinton and becomes co-chairman of her national campaign.

    April 2007 - Joins Minneapolis-based international law firm Dorsey and Whitney as a managing partner.

    December 17, 2008 - Is nominated by President-elect Barack Obama to be agriculture secretary.

    January 14, 2009 - Vilsack's confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee begins.

    January 20, 2009 - Is confirmed as secretary of Agriculture.

    January 21, 2009 - Is sworn in as the 30th secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

    July 19, 2010 - Calls for the resignation of USDA official Shirley Sherrod after an excerpted video clip of Sherrod is posted online, in which Sherrod discusses an incident involving a white farmer. Vilsack contends that he made the decision without conferring with the White House.

    July 21, 2010 - Vilsack apologizes to Shirley Sherrod after video of the full speech shows that her remarks from the clip were taken out of context. Vilsack offers Sherrod another job with the Department of Agriculture, which she later declines.