CLIVE, Iowa – Former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack is celebrating after winning a big Powerball prize.
The Iowa Lottery said Vilsack claimed his $150,000 winnings Monday. The money stems from the Jan. 22nd Powerball drawing, where the jackpot was estimated at $347 million.
"Occasionally when the Powerball gets above $250 million, I think, 'What the heck?' You know, you can dream, like everybody else," Vilsack said. "And I also know that the chances of me winning anything are next to none and so the money is going to go to education or veterans or the state fund for natural resources or infrastructure, or all the good things that the lottery does. So, I figure it's a good contribution."
Vilsack said he forgot about the ticket until 10 days after the drawing and decided to check the numbers. He matched the Powerball on one of the easy-play picks and then realized he’d matched all the other numbers – save for one.
"And I said, 'My gosh, I got every number but one!'" he said. "So then it was, 'Well, geez, when you get every number but one, surely they've got to give you like $10 or something.'"
After double-checking the numbers on the lottery’s website he realized the ticket was worth $150,000. Just to be sure, Vilsack also checked with his eldest son who lives next door.
Vilsack has plans for the money already.
"The church is going to get a little bit of it, St. Boniface, I'm going to send that check out today," he said. "And the kids are going to get a little bit because you always try to help your kids out. And then the rest is going to go to my banker. And he's going to be very pleased to get it. Because we still have an outstanding mortgage from many years ago and this will help pay it down to the point where retirement can be a little bit more comfortable than it might have otherwise been."
Since serving as Iowa’s governor from 1999-2007, Vilsack has also served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under the Obama administration. He’s currently the president and CEO of the US Dairy Export Council.