Barack Obama's pick for Secretary of Agriculture gets a fist bump from a Wisconsin congressman. In fact, La Crosse Democrat Ron Kind specifically advocated for former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, during a meeting with the president-elect. "My recommendation to Barack Obama, when we had a chance to talk about this, was for him to appoint someone who is open-minded and reform-minded," says Kind. "That is Tom Vilsack."
Rep. Kind believes Vilsack will be well positioned to tackle the issue of ag subsidy payments to millionaires which he and Janesville Republican Paul Ryan have fought against . "Go back to his statements as a candidate for president, knowing the importance of the Iowa caucuses and farm policy, her was one of the candidates in the field that was really taking on these farm subsidies head on."
Kind notes Obama has seen a recent GAO report that showed more than two-thousand farmers with annual incomes of over two and a half million dollars have received federal farm subsides. "I think the chances of Governor Vilsack working with President Obama and the Congress, myself included, are very good, that we're going to be able to tighten up these payment limitation caps to insure that multi-millionaires are not continuing to receive millions of taxpayer subsidies, which is ridiculous."
Kind notes Vilsack has also been a strong advocate for moving away from corn based ethanol to cellulosic ethanol. "He's also been a strong champion of a cause near and dear my heart, and that's adequate funding for the conservation programs that help farmers be good stewards of their land, improves water supply and protects habitat throughout the country."
( Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson has more, on Tom Vilsack .)