One of Governor Tom Vilsack’s “right hand men” for the past few years has been rebuffed by a Senate Committee. The Senate State Government Committee yesterday refused to endorse John Cacciatore’s nomination to be director of the office of State/Federal Relations in Washington, D.C. Cacciatore was Vilsack’s 1998 campaign manager, and most recently served as Vilsack’s chief of staff. Senator Mark Zieman,a republican from Postville, says many see Cacciatore as too partisan, as they were unable to work with him. Zieman says at least two of the Republicans in Iowa’s Congressional delegation say they won’t be able to meet with Cacciatore because of past history. He says they need to have someone in the position that can communicate with federal legislators.Senate Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal of Council bluffs predicts Cacciatore will be confirmed for the job by the Senate, as he says he has solid support among democrats.Gronstal discounts the idea that Cacciatore is too difficult to work with. He says “it has absolutely no validity what so ever, it’s about politics.”Like the Governor’s other appointments to top state jobs, Cacciatore must win “yes” votes from 34 of the 50 state Senators in order to be confirmed for the post. After Vilsack won reelection in November, he replaced Cacciatore as chief of staff and offered him the job in D.C. The Committee voted to send Cacciatore’s nomination on to the full Senate without recommendation. That means they didn’t vote him down in committee, and the full Senate can still take up the nomination.
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