THOMAS J. VILSACK was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, orphaned at birth, and adopted in 1951. He received a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York in 1972, and received a law degree from Albany Law School in 1975. Vilsack was elected mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa in 1987, and was elected to the Iowa Senate in 1992. In 1998, he was elected Iowa’s first Democratic governor in more than 30 years, and was re-elected to a second term in 2002. Governor Vilsack created the Iowa Values Fund, an $800 million, 10-year program. He worked to build a sustainable energy infrastructure, permitting Iowa to fuel as well as feed the nation. The Vilsack administration worked with schools, medical providers, businesses, faith-based organizations, and other entities to expand health care coverage to more than 90,000 previously uninsured children. During his tenure, Vilsack served as chair of the Democratic Governors Association and was a member of the executive committee of the National Governors Association.