Tom Vilsack Pitches His Solutions To Millennial Vote Engagement

The best way to activate young voters is through a bigger focus on issues rather than candidates, believes Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who returned to Iowa this week to speak at a millennial voters event in Des Moines. The former Iowa governor specifically pointed to water quality topics as a key motivator, and said the Democratic Party must adjust their outreach tactics for young people. “I think it’s important for us to talk about the significant progressive agenda that could be advanced by young people, by millennials,” Vilsack told Starting Line at the “Political Party” event in Des Moines […]

The Scenarios For Tom Vilsack As Clinton’s Vice President

After weeks of discussing Tom Kaine, Elizabeth Warren, Tom Perez and Sherrod Brown, a familiar Iowa name emerged in the vice president nominee debate for Democrats: Tom Vilsack. The current Secretary of Agriculture and former two-term Iowa Governor has reportedly been vetted by Clinton’s team. Those of us in Iowa understand why he’s still in the mix. Vilsack comes with an inspiring biography – placed in a Catholic orphanage in Pittsburgh, he was adopted and grew up in Pennsylvania before working his way through law school. His wife, Christie, took him back with her to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, where he […]

Tom Vilsack Faces Fallout After Backing Branstad’s Education Plan

Many Democrats were rather surprised to see Secretary of Agriculture and former Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack sitting next to Governor Terry Branstad on Tuesday morning. Vilsack was there to give support to Branstad’s new proposal to divert funding from schools in the one-cent sales tax to water quality projects. The plan extends the money provided to schools into 2049, but many Democrats (and some Republicans) have seen it as needlessly tying together two priorities to the same funding source that could hurt education resources in the long-run. “The ISEA is extremely disappointed that Secretary Vilsack decided to support Governor Branstad’s […]

Here We Go Again: Branstad’s Newest Ploy To Take Money From Schools

The hope that education funding might emerge as a less-controversial issue this legislative session was quickly dashed on Tuesday with Governor Terry Branstad announcing his latest plan on school funding. At a press conference at the Capitol, Branstad unveiled a new idea that would divert part of the one-cent sales tax that goes toward school infrastructure improvement to water quality projects. The proposal would extend the tax from 2029 to 2049, and use new growth in the tax for water quality instead of schools, as it originally was designed. Branstad, who called it his “biggest and boldest initiative” ever, estimated […]

Tom Vilsack’s Reintroduction To Iowa Politics

For a moment on Wednesday at the DMACC Ankeny campus, an Iowa Democrat attending Hillary Clinton’s rural policy roll-out could have felt like they were back in 1998, with Clinton and Tom Vilsack sharing a campaign stage. And as Vilsack delivered a graceful, touching homage to his friend running for president, one could wonder if they were witnessing something else as well. Perhaps this was also a glimpse of the future, a beginning of the former governor’s return to Iowa politics. Vilsack introduced and threw his support behind Clinton in an extended ten minute speech in Ankeny, which he apologized […]

Monday Power Rankings: 2018 Governor – Democrats

Too early to talk about 2018? Never! Certainly not on Starting Line, anyway. Seriously though, forget the 2016 presidential election or the close races in the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts. Nothing will have a bigger impact on Iowa’s future than who wins the race for Governor in 2018 (though the State Senate races in 2016 will come close). Multiple top-tier potential Democratic candidates have kept their electoral powder dry by staying out of tempting Congressional races (though who wants to go to D.C. anyway?). Many have their sights set on leading the Democrats back to power in the Governor’s […]