Obama Selects Former Governor Tom Vilsack To Head Department of Agriculture

tom vilsack and obamaCHICAGO (RushPRnews)12/17/08-U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has introduced his nominees for agriculture and interior secretaries Wednesday during a press conference in Chicago. Mr. Obama has selected former Governor Tom Vilsack of the midwestern state of Iowa to head the Department of Agriculture, which manages support for farmers and food safety. Vilsack briefly ran for the 2008 Democratic presidential party nomination but dropped out before the primary season began. He is a strong advocate for developing alternative energy sources, known as biofuels, that can be made from farm products, such as corn.

Mr. Obama also named Democratic Senator Ken Salazar of the western state of Colorado to head the Department of Interior, which manages the country’s national parks. Salazar has pushed to limit energy exploration on land in the western United States. As interior secretary, he would oversee oil and gas drilling on government-managed land.

Mr. Obama announced Tuesday that he is nominating Arne Duncan to head the education department.

The president-elect praised Duncan’s reform work in Chicago schools and called him an independent thinker.

Mr. Obama also said improving the public education system is essential for the United States to remain a global economic leader in the 21st century.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.