Secretary of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture
As leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Secretary Tom Vilsack is working hard to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities and create new markets for the tremendous innovation of rural America. On January 15, 2016, the longest-serving member of President Obama’s original Cabinet, was appointed to lead a new interagency effort focused on addressing rural America’s struggles with heroin and opioid abuse. He is tasked with developing bipartisan policy reforms to reduce suicide rates, improve the physical and mental health of all Americans, and reduce financial stress. As chair of the first-ever White House Rural Council, Secretary Vilsack and USDA are taking steps to strengthen services for rural businesses and entrepreneurs by finding new ways to make the connection between the demand for investment in rural areas and the financial community. Prior to his appointment more than six years ago, Secretary Vilsack served two terms as the Governor of Iowa, in the Iowa State Senate and as the mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Vilsack was born into an orphanage and adopted in 1951. After graduating Hamilton College and Albany Law School in New York, he moved to Mt. Pleasant, his wife Christie’s hometown, where he practiced law.