Republican Congressman Steve King has a “long history” with Tom Vilsack. And, as speculation grows that Vilsack might be Hillary Clinton’s choice as a running mate, King is praising the ag secretary’s “work ethic.”
“He’s administered a huge department in our government, so I think he would be an asset to their ticket,” King said this afternoon, “although you know I’d be working against him.” King first met Vilsack when the two were state senators.
King said when he was first elected in 1996, some of the “seasoned” members of the state senate warned King not to debate Vilsack.
“He’s a very intelligent man. He has a good work ethic. He is well-prepared,” King said during an interview in Cleveland, where King is attending the Republican National Convention. “When I look at the preparation of his colleagues from back in those days, I think Tom Vilsack’s matched anybody’s and exceeded most.”
Vilsack’s wife, Christie, ran against King in 2012. When Vilsack was governor, King successfully sued over Vilsack’s executive order that barred discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender state employees.
“We have a long history. We’ve been to court against each other and a number of other things,” King told Iowa reporters. “They weren’t all pleasant and agreeable circumstances, but he has the capability.”
And King said a Clinton-Vilsack ticket might make a difference in a swing state like Iowa.
“I don’t know whether it’d be a dramatic thing in Iowa, but surely there’s always that piece of state pride,” King said.
If Vilsack is picked, though, King said he’ll make the case Vilsack hasn’t been a “stronger advocate” for ag policy during the past seven and half years, especially since the Obama Administration hasn’t increased required ethanol production levels.
King also plans to bring up Vilsack’s approval of the state law which required all state documents to be written in English, something King championed as a state senator. King suggests Vilsack’s position on “English Only” laws may have changed.