Tom Vilsack endorses Hillary Clinton

Source: By Katie Zezima, Washington Post • Posted: Friday, August 28, 2015

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack endorsed  Hillary Clinton for president. (Reuters)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

The endorsement from the former Iowa governor and current member of the Obama administration comes as Vice President  Biden is mulling whether or not to enter the race.

In an op-ed in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Vilsack wrote that Clinton has long championed the middle class and will try to lower the cost of education. Vilsack cited the needs of rural Americans, whom he said are often lost in Washington policy discussions.

“Too often the discussion of good jobs fails to include the unique challenges faced by rural Americans. Hillary Clinton understands that some of the deepest and most pronounced poverty exists in rural areas of the country,” he wrote. He mentioned Clinton’s support for a renewable fuel standard, which expands the use of ethanol. Iowa produces nearly a quarter of the nation’s ethanol.

Vilsack said Clinton showed “courage” while first lady by talking about women’s rights in China and has worked on worldwide hunger issues.

In many ways the endorsement is no surprise: Vilsack ran for president in 2008 and threw his support behind Clinton after dropping out. A longtime adviser to the agriculture secretary is running Clinton’s Iowa operation.

In the op-ed, Vilsack touted his personal connection to Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Vilsack’s brother-in-law worked with Clinton — both were congressional staff members during the Watergate hearings, and Vilsack recounted Bill Clinton giving him advice for his first gubernatorial run.

“Hillary Clinton has the right policies to strengthen and expand the middle class, is battle tested, and has the experience and relationships to lead and govern well. For all of those reasons as well as our friendship, I will caucus for Hillary Clinton on February 1, 2016,” Vilsack wrote.