Tom Vilsack Fast Facts

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack participates in a discussion on "The Opioid Epidemic" on April 12, 2016, in Washington, DC. Secretary Vilsack joined the discussion at the Summit on Mental Health and Addiction, hosted by The Atlantic.

Here's a look at the life of former US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Personal:
Birth date: December 13, 1950
Birth place: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Full name: Thomas James Vilsack
    Father: Bud Vilsack
    Mother: Dolly Vilsack
    Marriage: Christie (Bell) Vilsack (1973-present)
    Children: Jess and Doug
    Education: Hamilton College, B.A., 1972; Albany Law School J.D., 1975
    Other Facts:
    Was mentioned as a possible running mate for John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election process.
    Adopted as an infant from an orphanage by Bud and Dolly Vilsack.
    Ran for mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, after his predecessor was shot and killed at a city council meeting.
    Timeline:
    1975-1998 - Practices law.
    1987-1992 - Mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
    1992 - Elected to the Iowa Senate.
    1994 - Wins re-election to the Iowa Senate.
    1998 - Becomes the first Democrat 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 20, 2009 - Unanimously confirmed as agriculture secretary by the US Senate.
    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 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.
    January 15, 2016 - President Obama names Vilsack his Cabinet-level point person to address the problem of heroin and other opiate use in rural communities.
    January 13, 2017 - Vilsack steps down as agriculture secretary one week early.
      January 17, 2017 - The US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) names Vilsack as president and CEO, beginning on February 1, 2017.