Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack will be honored tonight in New York by an organization that works to improve the health and wellness of children.
GENYOUth is presenting Vilsack with the Vanguard Award, intended to honor individuals who “exemplify courage, compassion and leadership” in service to young people. “I think the good work that was done at USDA when I was secretary of expanding access to school breakfast, making sure free and reduced lunch was available to young people coming from families who were struggling, and expanding significantly the summer feeding program are among the reasons why I’m receiving this award and it’s humbling,” Vilsack told Radio Iowa.
Vilsack was the U.S. Ag Secretary for eight years under President Obama following two terms as Iowa’s governor. The Democrat, who will turn 67 on December 13, credits his upbringing in Pennsylvania for his commitment to child nutrition initiatives. “I’ve certainly been incredibly blessed in my life. To start out at an orphanage and end up working at the United States Department of Agriculture and having been governor of this great state for eight years…you know, I’ve been very blessed and fortunate, and I want to make sure every kid in America has that same opportunity,” Vilsack said.
Vilsack moved to Iowa in 1975. He practiced law in Mount Pleasant, the hometown of his wife. Tom and Christie (Bell) Vilsack were married in 1973. Prior to being elected Iowa’s governor in 1998, Vilsack spent time in the Iowa Senate and served as the mayor of Mount Pleasant. He’s now president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.
Former President Bill Clinton will deliver the keynote address at tonight’s event in New York where Vilsack will receive GENYOUth’s Vanguard Award.