Tom Vilsack on Homeland Security

Democratic IA Governor


Sees parallel skills between soldiers and farmers

[Soldiers and farmers] are linked by a number of similarities. Both require problem solvers; someone who is observant, quickly able to spot an enemy whether it's another soldier or a weed or pest before it's too late. Each requires an individual who can go seamlessly from doing paperwork one minute to fixing a broken piece of vital equipment the next."They are very good at dealing with crisis and circumstances because that is what they are trained to do. Veterans have the capacity to respond and fix the problem, which is an important characteristic of someone who is successful in the farming business." Vilsack said the USDA, which counts about 10% of its 100,000 employees as having served in the military, has worked closely with the Defense and Veterans departments to ensure that people leaving the military know farming is an option. He acknowledges, however, more could be done to tout it as a possibility.
Source: 2016 Veepstakes: Military Times, "Vets look to farming" , Jul 14, 2016

Boost production of aviation biofuels for military use

To promote the domestic production of renewable energy and create good jobs in rural communities, we'll invest in farmers, scientists, entrepreneurs working to develop a nationwide biofuels economy. We'll also continue our partnership with the U.S. Navy and Department of Energy to boost the production of domestically produced aviation biofuels for use by the military.
Source: USDA press release (Obama Cabinet) , Feb 13, 2012

Spending in Iraq is wrong priority; spend at home instead

Tom Vilsack praised a New Hampshire group for building new homes for people with disabilities, but he said the rebuilding of Iraq will leave little money for such efforts on a national scale. "We are embarking on a program in which we are spending literally billions of dollars to reconstruct a country halfway around the world, which means we don't have sufficient resources for some of the programs that are so important to keeping the American dream alive," he said to the group. "It may be hard to see the connection between an effort to escalate troops in Iraq and the opportunity to create more housing for people with disabilities, but there is a direct connection because resources are limited and we have to make choices," said Vilsack.

Given President Bush's plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq, Congress is sure to reject requests for more money for worthy projects like New Hampshire's housing program, Vilsack said. "We just don't have the priorities right."

Source: 2016 Veepstakes: Portsmouth-Herald (NH) SeacoastOnline.com , Jan 20, 2007

Pay salary differentials for active duty employees

Vilsack proposed and signed Senate File 458, which created a program appropriating $1.8 million to pay salary differentials and continued state health benefits to state employees called up for active duty with the National Guard and Reserve and whose active duty salaries amounted to less than their civilian salaries. This would ensure that these troops and their families would not experience a drop in income as a result of being called to active duty.
Source: Press Release , Feb 24, 2004

Support continued funding for First Responders

The administration seeks funding for the Iowa-led multi-state partnership to strengthen agro-terrorism prevention and preparedness efforts. The administration also calls on Congress to address the needs of the agriculture community in preparing for, and responding to, emergencies. The administration calls on Congress to provide greater flexibility in the use of First Responder grants to allow States to target the money where most needed in their communities.
Source: Press Release , Jan 23, 2004

Deal with terrorism as a joint federal-state responsibility.

Vilsack adopted the National Governors Association policy:

Source: NGA policy HR-10: Domestic Terrorism 01-NGA5 on Feb 15, 2001

Include states in anti-terrorism planning.

Vilsack adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The issue of terrorism will be of major focus for the 107th Congress. Governors have a critical interest in controlling domestic terrorism because they are responsible for ensuring that state and local authorities have the ability to deal with natural disasters and other types of major emergencies, including terrorist incidents.

NGAís Position

NGA believes that any national strategy for dealing with terrorist incidents should include planning and training by state and local forces. The unique nature of terrorism coupled with national security implications requires the support and expertise of the federal government in working with state and local government in developing capabilities. A clear national strategy developed through a partnership among federal agencies and key state, local, and private sector stakeholders is essential to drive operational and programmatic planning, training, and service delivery in combating terrorism.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA7 on Sep 14, 2001

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