Hillary Clinton is expected to name her running mate this afternoon, and the conventional wisdom crowns Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her choice. The 74 helpfully provided the education policy backgrounds of eight potential VPs, but missed a big connection for one of the candidates – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
It’s forgivable for this memory to have faded, but Vilsack was once a registered lobbyist for the National Education Association on the No Child Left Behind Act.
It was never entirely clear what lobbying Vilsack did, but when Vilsack was nominated for the cabinet post, the union insisted he did no lobbying on school nutrition programs, which come under the purview of the Department of Agriculture. NEA supported his nomination, stating Vilsack “worked closely with our affiliate, the Iowa State Teachers Association (ISTA) in promoting a positive agenda in support of children and families.” (The NEA affiliate in Iowa is actually called the Iowa State Education Association.)
Certainly NEA would be satisfied with any choice other than Sen. Cory Booker (because of his ties to education reform), but having a former employee as Vice President could amount to two seats at the table.