Sally Pederson joins Christie Vilsack

In the summer of 1998, gubernatorial candidate Tom Vilsack (D-Mt Pleasant then, now D-Washington, DC) chose an unconventional running mate, someone who had never held elective office before. Sally Pederson, a former editor at Meredith Corporation with a long resume of charity work in the Des Moines area, served as Vilsack's lieutenant governor from January, 1999 to January, 2007.  Today, a news release indicates she is joining forces with Vilsack's wife, Christie, on a project,  Details below:

DES MOINES, Iowa – February 23, 2009 – Former Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson has joined the Iowa Initiative to Prevent Unintended Pregnancies as a senior consultant, Executive Director Christie Vilsack announced today.

“Sally Pederson brings a wealth of experience and leadership and we are fortunate to have her,” says Vilsack. “I look forward to working with her in our continued efforts to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies among adult women across this state.”

Vilsack says Pederson will meet with community and civic organizations, public officials and family planning providers around the state of Iowa to increase awareness of the problems associated with unintended pregnancies and increase knowledge about the new generation of long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARC) which are nearly 100% effective in preventing pregnancy for years at a time.

“Approximately one-half of all pregnancies among adult women in Iowa each year are unintended.  However, with the recent advances in contraceptive technology we now have the ability to allow women to effectively plan their pregnancies and control their futures,” Vilsack notes.

Each year, Iowa family planning clinics avert nearly 20,000 unintended pregnancies, 8,000 abortions, and save more than $88 million to taxpayers,” Pederson adds. “For every one dollar we invest in family planning services, we save taxpayers four dollars in social services and maternal and child health care.”

Iowa’s lieutenant governor from 1999 to 2007, Pederson has served as President of Polk County Health Services and as Board President of the Autism Society of Iowa. She has served on the boards of the National Alliance for Autism Research, Blank Children’s Hospital, the Mid Iowa Health Foundation and the State Special Education Advisory Council.

Pederson chaired the Governor’s 21st Century Workforce Council and chaired the board of directors of Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates, part of a national initiative to help at-risk high school students graduate and become successfully employed. She also has been inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame.

The Iowa Initiative is a privately-funded program that will serve as a model to prevent unintended pregnancies nationwide; the Initiative aims to reduce the high rate of unintended pregnancies among Iowa women ages 18-30 through networking, research and public outreach.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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