President-elect Barack Obama has selected former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to become his agriculture secretary, according to Democratic officials familiar with the selection process.
Obama will announce the nomination of Vilsack on Wednesday, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the selection before the announcement. Obama also plans to announce his nomination of Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar as interior secretary at the same news conference, other Democratic officials said.
First elected governor in 1998, Vilsack, 58, carved out a reputation as a political centrist. He balanced Iowa's budget and resisted raising taxes, but he was willing to spend money on such priorities as education and health. He argued that pushing alternative energy sources was key to bolstering rural sections of the nation that are struggling economically and with vanishing populations.