Tom Vilsack on Government Reform

Democratic IA Governor


OpEd: has friendly history with agricultural polluters

The Department of Agriculture has emerged as a hot-button office during the transition, particularly for the role it could play in mitigating the numerous harms to the environment perpetuated by agriculture. A number of progressive activists and environmental leaders are up in arms about the pick, pointing to Vilsack's friendly history with polluters and failure to enact substantive regulation during his eight years in office.
Source: Sierra Club press release on Biden Cabinet , Dec 16, 2020

Money is the only reason he left presidential race

[After withdrawing from the presidential race], "This process has become to a great extent about money -- a lot of money," Vilsack said at a news conference in Des Moines yesterday. "And it is clear to me that we would not be able to continue to raise money in the amounts necessary to sustain not just a campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire but a campaign across this country. So it is money and only money that is the reason that we are leaving today."
Source: 2016 Veepstakes: Washington Post on 2016 presidential race , Jun 10, 2015

Made Iowa government more transparent and smaller

Governor Vilsack has reformed the way government operates in Iowa by making it more transparent, accessible, and results-driven. He has done this all the while reducing Iowa’s tax burden and decreasing the size of state government. Known for its innovative ideas and pragmatic practices, Iowa’s government has won a number of awards and serves as a prototype for other state governments nationwide.
Source: PAC website, www.HeartlandPac.org, “Issues” , Dec 1, 2006

No more cherished right than the right to vote

If we create an economy that encouraged people go beyond high school with their education and create an economy in which people understood the significance of education, I think we wouldn't have to be dealing with the issue of restoring voting rights. We ought not to take voting for granted nor should we stop until we have made voting an opportunity that is equal and available and cherished by the people in this country. There is not more cherished right in this democracy than the right to vote.
Source: National Press Club speech (for Obama Cabinet) , Feb 28, 2006

Voluntary public financing for all general elections.

Vilsack signed the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Return Politics to the People
At a time when much of the world is emulating American values and institutions, too many Americans have lost confidence in their political system. They are turned off by a partisan debate that often seems to revolve not around opposing philosophies but around contending sets of interest groups. They believe that our current system for financing campaigns gives disproportionate power to wealthy individuals and groups and exerts too much influence over legislative and regulatory outcomes.

The time for piecemeal reform is past. As campaign costs soar at every level, we need to move toward voluntary public financing of all general elections and press broadcasters to donate television time to candidates.

The Internet holds tremendous potential for making campaigns less expensive and more edifying and for engaging Americans directly in electoral politics. We should promote the Internet as a new vehicle for political communication and champion online voting.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC9 on Aug 1, 2000

Reforms must respect state's rights to select electors.

Vilsack adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

In the wake of the United States presidential election in Florida, the Congress and the administration has expressed interest in federal standards for elections. Recognizing that Articles I and II of the United States Constitution grants states, not Congress, the authority to determine the manner of selecting presidential electors and conducting elections generally, most legislative proposals do not mandate federal standards. Rather, current proposals direct federal agencies or commissions to study and make recommendations concerning the election system. Nonetheless, the possibility of legislation in the 107th Congress requiring states to implement federal election standards remains. If enacted without adequate funding by the federal government, such legislation could also result in an unfunded mandate to the states.

NGA’s Position

Articles I and II of the United States Constitution grant states the authority to determine the manner of selecting presidential electors and provide that states are responsible for establishing election procedures generally. However, in the wake of the 2000 presidential election, the nation’s Governors recognize the need for election reform. NGA will continue to monitor federal legislation addressing this issue, but has not taken a position in support of or opposition to election reform efforts.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA11 on Aug 1, 2001

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Page last updated: Sep 01, 2021