|First Lady of Iowa|
January 15, 1999 – January 12, 2007
|Preceded by||Chris Branstad|
|Succeeded by||Mariclare Culver|
|Born||Ann Christine Bell
July 9, 1950
Mount Pleasant, Iowa, U.S.
|Alma mater||Kirkland College
University of Iowa
Christie Vilsack (born July 9, 1950) is an American literacy advocate and politician. Vilsack is married to former Iowa Governor and current United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, serving as the First Lady of Iowa from 1999 until 2007. She was an unsuccessful 2012 Democratic nominee for U.S. Representative for Iowa's 4th congressional district.
Early life, marriage and family
She met her future husband, Tom Vilsack, while attending college. He reportedly approached her in the cafeteria and asked, "Are you a Humphrey or a Nixon supporter?" The couple married on August 18, 1973, in Mount Pleasant. They have two children.
The Vilsacks moved to Mount Pleasant in 1975. She began her career there as a librarian and a teacher. For eighteen years she taught at the middle school level, and also at the high school level, leading classes in language arts and journalism. For another six years, she taught English and journalism at Iowa Wesleyan College.
In April 2013 Mrs. Vilsack joined the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as the Senior Advisor for International Education.
First Lady of Iowa
In 2007, Vilsack founded The Iowa Initiative, a privately funded foundation which aims to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies among Iowa women ages 18 to 30. She served as executive director of the Initiative until February 2011, when she resigned to focus on exploring opportunities for seeking elected office. She now serves as chair of the Board of Directors.
In October 2009, Vilsack told WHO-DT she was considering a possible run against Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Iowa. A Research 2000 poll for the website Daily Kos, conducted just days after the interview, showed that Grassley led Vilsack 51-40 in a hypothetical matchup, placing Vilsack in a statistical tie with declared Democratic party candidates Roxanne Conlin and Bob Krause. She ultimately decided not to run.
In April 2011, Vilsack formed an exploratory committee to prepare for a potential campaign for Congress in Iowa's 4th District. She made her official announcement to run on July 19. On November 6, 2012 she was defeated by five-term Republican incumbent Steve King 53%-45%.
She considered running against King again in 2014 but took a job with the United States Agency for International Development as the Senior Advisor on International Education instead.
- Henderson, Kay (2010-08-18). "Christie Vilsack says she "can’t wait indefinitely"". Radio Iowa. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Okamoto, Lynn (2009-10-15). "Vilsack biography". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
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- Smith, Ben (2009-10-14). "Senator Vilsack?". The Politico. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- Jennifer Jacobs (21 April 2011). "Christie Vilsack announces she'll explore run for Congress". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
- Christie Vilsack: I’m running for Congress to take civility to Washington, Jennifer Jacobs, Des Moines Register, July 19, 2011
- Toeplitz, Shira (March 29, 2013). "Iowa: Christie Vilsack Announces New Federal Gig; Second House Bid Unlikely". Roll Call. Retrieved May 23, 2013.