Today’s news from the Vilsack camp

Michael Blouin, Governor Tom Vilsack’s Department of Economic Development director, is taking a job with the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation.  Blouin ran against Governor-elect Chet Culver in the Democratic primary and lost.  Blouin has served as the leader chambers of commerce in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.  But back in the 1960s, Blouin began his professional life as a school teacher in Dubuque.

Blouin then won a seat in the Iowa House, representing the Dubuque area.  Next, he ran for congress and won two terms. 

Blouin’s arrival at the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation creates an interesting dynamic.  Rick Dickinson, a former state legislator from Sabula who ran in this past June’s first district congressional primary and lost to Bruce Braley, has been the group’s director for several years.  Dickinson will be staying with the group and both men will report to the board of directors.  I can’t remember who gets what title, but there will be two "big cheeses" at the helm now in Dubuque.

Also today, Vilsack’s presidential campaign issued the following statement:

Vilsack Stepping Down from DLC to Run for President
Democratic Presidential Candidate Follows Path of Former DLC Chair Bill Clinton

DES MOINES, IA – Democratic presidential candidate Tom Vilsack, following the precedent established by former DLC Chair Bill Clinton, announced today he is resigning his post at the Democratic Leadership Council to focus on his campaign for President. Published reports this morning indicate that former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. is preparing to succeed Vilsack at the DLC.

According to outgoing DLC Chair Vilsack:

“I’m resigning from the DLC because I am running for President. As a candidate for President, I am responsible for articulating my views about the future of our country and the importance of having the courage to create change in America.

For the last 18 months, I have genuinely enjoyed traveling across America as the DLC chair, and talking about our party’s commitment to fighting for freedom and liberty for every American family. The DLC has played and will continue to play an important role in ensuring our party remains open to the perspective of every American who shares our values.

Harold Ford has earned his reputation as a persuasive advocate for the Democratic Party and will do a great job as Chairman of the DLC.”

Under Governor Vilsack’s leadership, the DLC established a successful working relationship with organized labor leaders on mutually beneficial issues for the first time. Washington Post’s David Broder noted the significance of this breakthrough in his December 14, 2006 column when he said, “As the current chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, the caucus of Clinton moderates, he has worked with some success to bridge the gap with organized labor, whose leaders often saw the DLC as their bitter rival in intraparty debates. With strong union support at home, Vilsack helped heal that division.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.