VILSACK VISIT: Wait Holds Up Others

Tuesday morning, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack kept part of his visit with Iowa lawmakers private. He spoke to Democrats and Republicans in both chambers behind closed doors. Once the talks ended, Vilsack made the familiar walk in the halls of the statehouse. At one point, he stopped for pictures with staffers who worked with him as governor. That nostalgia for yesteryear has some hopeful he’ll bring his leadership back to Iowa.

Vilsack summed up to reporters after his meetings, not about speculation of another run for governor, but rather the importance of Washington working together. He said, “The solution is for congress to do its job.”

Vilsack’s talk was part of his official visit at the statehouse to warn state lawmakers of the dangers of the pending federal sequestration cuts on the way, not his political plans.
Four lawmakers in those private meetings may have found themselves in an awkward seat. State Senators Mike Gronstal of Council Bluff, Jack Hatch of Des Moines and Pam Jochum of Dubuque, along with Representative Tyler Olson are all considering a run for governor. Olson said, “I don’t think his interest is a bad thing. He could bring a lot to the ticket.”

Olson may see Vilsack’s potential interest two ways. As party chairman he knows Vilsack is one of the biggest names he can get to run for governor. But what if Olson wants the job himself? He said, “Whatever he (Vilsack) decides to do, his service will benefit the lives of a lot of Iowans.”

Olson said if Vilsack runs, “It will be a very small primary field…and I will not be in it.”

For now, Vilsack enjoys his time with legislators, even the Republicans, but on this visit he can. Vilsack said, “I still get emails from Republican leaders. We communicate every once in a while and I appreciate that. That’s the beauty of Iowa politics.

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