Governor Tom Vilsack’s visiting eastern Iowa today (Thursday) to tout his administration’s economic development record as he starts making the case to Iowans that he’s presidential material. Vilsack’s wife, Christie, is also making the case for her husband during her stops around the state.
In a recent speech, Mrs. Vilsack talked about the same thing her husband’s talking about today — how the “landscape” of the state has changed during his eight years in office. “We have literally changed the landscape in Iowa,” Mrs. Vilsack said. “I was driving between Mt. Pleasant and Burlington the other day on the new four-lane highway which, first of all, has changed the landscape and all of a sudden on the horizon it was no longer the Danville elevator but there was an ethanol plant and I thought: ‘My landscape has changed from the time that I was a child to today’…and we’ve got ethanol plants changing the landscape all over Iowa.”
Mrs. Vilsack added the dramatic increase in the number of wind turbines to her list of the state’s economic accomplishments while her husband’s been in office. “We’ve gone from the small windmills on the prairie that pumped the water for the cattle to these huge turbines that are changing the landscape of Iowa,” Mrs. Vilsack said.
The state’s First Lady also cited the doubling of state grants to libraries as well as the direct grants to many libraries through the state’s “Vision Iowa” and “Community Attractions” economic development programs. According to Mrs. Vilsack, over two-hundred public libraries have gotten state grants to either improve their facilities or erect a new building. “With the help of public libraries we’ll continue to change the landscape of Iowa and continue to transform our economy because public libraries and the economy go hand-in-hand,” Mrs. Vilsack said. “That’s one of the messages I’ve tried to deliver all over Iowa in the past seven-and-a-half years.”
Governor Vilsack was in Davenport this (Thursday) morning at 10. He’ll be at A-D-M in Cedar Rapids over the noon hour and at three o’clock the governor will speak at the Burlington Public Library. According to Mrs. Vilsack, not a week goes by that a public library in Iowa doesn’t hold a grand opening or ceremony to commemorate an expansion.
“But it’s not just about bricks and mortar,” Mrs. Vilsack said. “I’ve been to between 475 and 500 libraries. We have had a renaissance in public libraries in the eight years since I’ve had this job and it is a commitment on the part of communities to community and to making sure that a quality of life is part of the economic development strategy.”
Like her husband, Mrs. Vilsack is also touting their recent travels out-of-state.
“I’ve traveled all over this country and I’ve traveled all over the world and Iowa has something special and sometimes we take those special things for granted,” she said. “That’s the other message that I’ve been giving people all over this state as I travel.” Mrs. Vilsack is the governor’s closest friend and advisor, and in some weeks has made more public appearances in Iowa than her husband.