Biden picks Tom Vilsack to reprise role as Agriculture secretary

President-elect Joe Biden turned to former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack to reprise his Obama administration role as U.S. agriculture secretary, according to two people familiar with the decision, tapping a Farm Belt politician with deep ties to rural America.

Vilsack has been a proponent of international trade who criticized President Donald Trump’s tariff war with China and has shown a willingness to build consensus with agricultural interests. He is well-known both to Biden and farm groups. As agriculture secretary for eight years, he was Barack Obama’s longest-serving cabinet member.

Biden chose Vilsack as he tries to build support among constituencies that favored Trump, especially in rural America.

Biden made his choice in part because he knows that Vilsack will be able to hit the ground running at the Department of Agriculture and because he has spent the past four years closely watching how the Trump administration has undone his work, a person familiar with the president-elect’s thinking said.

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