In a small piece of overlooked news, I’m happy to report that Tom Vilsack will not be named Secretary of Agriculture:
Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack today said that he won’t be the next agriculture secretary, ending speculation that an Iowan would snag the post important to a large swath of the state’s economy.
In an e-mail, Vilsack said he had never been contacted by aides to President-elect Barack Obama about that position or any other.
Why do I see this as good news? No disrespect to Gov. Vilsack, who I’m sure is a capable guy, but his views are too inexorably tied to his state and its central role in our food system. Indeed, he’s been one of the earliest and biggest pushers of corn-based ethanol as a solution to our energy crisis.
Now, to be fair, this is not Obama’s strongest issue as he too hails from a midwest, corn-producing state.
But, in an ideal world, the agriculture secretary will be someone who will start to wean us off this corn-based, centrally-managed food system (which, by the way, is highly vulnerable to disruption and attack) and instead move us to a more regional system.