Speculation continues that former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack could be named Secretary of Agriculture in the new Obama administration. A University of Iowa expert on presidential transitions says such an appointment would make sense.
Quoting an unnamed source, the Washington Post says Obama’s transition team considers Vilsack, a fellow Democrat, a near shoo-in for the job. Political Science Professor Cary Covington says Vilsack’s leadership in a farm state gives him the background to head the U.S.D.A.
“Secondly, he’s from Iowa and Obama feels a particularly warm spot in his heart I think for Iowa because of our role helping him get going to win the Democratic party nomination,” Covington says. Covington says even though Vilsack’s professional background is in trial law, not agriculture, he doesn’t think the farm community will conclude he’s not one of them.
Covington says the former Iowa governor fits the Obama mold of young reformer. And he adds it doesn’t matter that Vilsack first backed Hillary Clinton. Covington says, “No, I don’t think that would stand in the way at all. I mean, if Senator Obama wants Joe Lieberman to remain in the democratic caucus I’m sure he has no trouble with Tom Vilsack being his agriculture secretary.” Covington says the prospect of an intensive vetting process could be a deterrent for Vilsack.