Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Presidential candidate to speak in valley

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to make pitch in Ketchum

Express Staff Writer

The Democratic Party's first candidate to declare intentions to seek the office of the Presidency will speak to Blaine County voters this week.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack will present his ideas Friday, Dec. 29, from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at Hemingway Elementary School in Ketchum.

Vilsack will be joined by his wife, Christie, who will also make a presentation.

"Americans sent a clear message on (Election Day). They want leaders who will take this country in a new direction," Vilsack said in a news release. "They want leaders who share their values, understand their needs, and respect their intelligence. That's what I've done as Governor of Iowa, and that's what I intend to do as President."

Vilsack counts as his successes while governor creating better-paying jobs, decreasing unemployment, and investing in education, health care and renewable energy.

He has criticized U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, over the Senator's proposal to increase U.S. troops in Iraq.

Vilsack on Nov. 8 took the first formal step toward running for President by filing documents with the Federal Election Commission to establish his presidential campaign committee.

Vilsack is campaigning all around the country in hopes of capturing the Democratic nomination, spokesman Jeff Link said Friday.

"To win back the White House, Democrats can't run a campaign in 17 or 18 states," he said. "It takes someone from a red state to win a red state."

Link said Vilsack's success in the toss-up state of Iowa shows he can draw votes from Republican states like Idaho.

Vilsack was elected Iowa's 39th governor in 1998, the first Democratic governor of the state in more than 30 years. He was re-elected to a second four-year term in 2002.

He is chair of the Democratic Leadership Council and former chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

Before being elected governor, Vilsack was an Iowa State Senator and the mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. 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.

His term as governor will expire in January 2007.

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