Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor and current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, made a stop in Webster City Wednesday night to speak on behalf of his wife, Democrat Christie Vilsack, who is running for the 4th District Congressional seat. She will face Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King of Kiron in the election Tuesday.
The secretary is traveling the 4th District along with his wife as part of the Value of Common Sense tour. Prior to stopping in Webster City, Vilsack was in Algona, Forest City and Clarion. The tour continues through Saturday.
Tom Vilsack, the only Iowan to hold a cabinet position since Henry Wallace, said he was very proud of the campaign his wife is running.
Janet and Ron Adams visit with Tom Vilsack, U.S. Sec. of Agriculture and former Iowa governor, Wednesday night at Hamilton County Democratic headquarters. Vilsack is traveling through part of the state on behalf of his wife Christie Vilsack, a 4th District Congressional candidate.
"The motivation of her running for Congress starts with her beliefs that small towns like Webster City ought the ability to make the case that there's really true great economic opportunities. She sees this as creating layers of economic opportunity," he said. "Her experience in Mount Pleasant taught her that if you diversify the economy, you provide multiple opportunities that will attract and support young people's dreams.
Vilsack said creating those layers focuses on three aspects: education, connections and involvement.
He said Christie Vilsack supported continuing the commitment to improving school systems and she a proponent of President Obama's efforts to support the nations community colleges.
"She believes very strongly that access to higher education should be available and affordable," he said.
A strong infrastructure of roads, bridges and rail systems are important to connecting people across the state, he said, explaining that his wife proposes to establish an infrastructure bank, with pension funds invested in public works projects.
"It puts people to work, it's steady return of the pension programs and as importantly, it helps to connect people more effectively," he said.
The secretary said Christie Vilsack's plans also include the Internet, expanding broadband to connect Iowans to the economic opportunities that the Internet can provide.
He said connections also apply to the job of a member of Congress, by promoting the 4th District communities for potential economic development as well as bringing back information about programs available to communities like Webster City.
Innovation is another key to helping renew rural economies, he said..
"She sees that as part of her responsibility - creating those layers of economic opportunity,"?he said.
He also addressed the stalled efforts by the current Congress.
"No farm bill, no jobs bill, no infrastructure bill; led us to the brink of economic catastrophe with the debt ceiling discussions," he said. "It was very ineffective.
Vilsack said that was due in part to partisanship.
"It creates gridlock and nothing gets done. Christie wants to go to Washington as a problem solver not a partisan fighter," he said.
"Christie will be representing you and she will make sure that her comments are reflective of your compassion, your caring, commitment, hard work and support for education. That's what she wants to convey," he said.
Iowa Senate District 24 Democratic candidate Shelly Stotts and Becky Perkovich, Democratic candidate for the Iowa House District 48 seat, also spoke to the audience.
All three urged those present to vote early and to encourage friends and neighbors to do the same.