Vilsack on farm policy, his wife’s future, Obama ’12 & Iowa judges

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is the guest on this weekend’s edition of “Iowa Press” which will air Friday night at 7:30 on IPTV.  The show was taped this morning (Thursday) and Vilsack covered a variety of topics, from farm subsidies to genetically-engineered crops

Vilsack touted the tax deal President Obama struck with Republican congressional leaders, a deal which passed and was signed into law in the past week.  It includes an extension of the taxbreaks for ethanol and biodiesel, as well as estate tax changes the farm community sought. 

I asked Vilsack about the prospect of his wife, Christie, running for congress in 2012.  “What sort of advice have you given her?” I asked.

“Husband and wife conversations are confidential under Iowa law, if I remember correctly,” Vilsack said, laughing.  “I would just say this:  Christie has extraordinary options.  She is well-respected and she has devoted most of her life to public service in one form or another and I think she has many options ahead of her.  These are decisions that she has to make and I will support her whatever decisions are.”

Vilsack predicted Obama will be a two-term president. “If he chooses to run for a second term, I think he will be reelected,” Vilsack said on the show. “I have no doubt about that.”    Vilsack said when voters “take a step back” they’ll “recognize the leadership” Obama has provided in “many different areas and in difficult political circumstances.”

Vilsack, an attorney who publicly urged Iowans to vote to retain the three justices who were defeated in last month’s judicial retention election, addressed the court’s circumstances in the closing moments of the show.  (Three newly-elected Republicans in the Iowa House are drafting articles of impeachment to try to oust the four remaining justices.) “When I travel around the country, there’s nothing but admiration for two things about Iowa: the way we select our judges and the way we create legislative and congressional districts.  We really need to understand what we’ve got.  It’s something the rest of the country’s envious of and we ought to be doing everything we can to keep what we’ve got,” Vilsack said. 

You can watch the show online, or see it over-the-air at 7:30 Friday night or 11:30 Sunday morning.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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