Christie Bell Vilsack K ’72 recently announced her intention to run for Congress in Iowa’s new Fourth Congressional District. After launching an exploratory campaign in April, Vilsack met with Iowans in all of the fourth district’s 39 counties on her listening tour.
She is married to former Iowa Governor and current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack '72 whom she met at Hamilton and married in 1973. During her tenure as first lady of Iowa, her work focused on advancing education and enriching communities. She is best known for her extensive work with literacy. Among other things, Christie Vilsack raised funds to give a book to every kindergartener in Iowa each year and she visited more than 500 Iowa libraries to discuss the social and economic impact of public libraries on communities.
In a press release issued by her campaign Vilsack said, “The small cities and rural communities that make up this district are critical to the future of our state. I want our children and grandchildren to have the same opportunity to grow and thrive in the Iowa I grew up in--where tight-knit communities and the values of responsibility and respect meant we worked together to solve our problems,” Vilsack said.
“In the Midwest, we know compromise isn’t a bad word—I want to work with Democrats and Republicans and everybody in between for jobs and opportunity for Iowa workers and financial security for Iowa seniors. I don’t want to score points. I want to make progress – with common-sense ideas and a willingness to compromise to get things done,” Vilsack said.
Her priorities include promoting clean energy jobs in wind and biofuels, expanding high-speed Internet access to rural communities and preserving Medicare and Social Security for future generations.
Born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Vilsack has been an educator for more than 30 years, teaching at the middle school, high school and college level.
She most recently served as executive director of the Iowa Initiative, a privately funded five-year research program that aims to reduce the high rate of unintended pregnancies among Iowa women ages 18-30, and if successful, serve as a model for the nation.
The Vilsacks are parents of two sons. Jess is a 2000 Hamilton graduate.