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Birth Place: Mount Pleasant, IA, United States
Residence: Ames, IA
Christie Vilsack was born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and now lives in Ames. She received a bachelor's degree from Kirkland College in Clinton, N.Y., and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Iowa.
After college, she worked as a teacher in her hometown. She also was a reporter and columnist for the Mount Pleasant News.
In 1973, she married Tom Vilsack, who would later be elected to two terms as Iowa's governor and is now the U.S. secretary of agriculture.
When her husband was elected governor in 1988, Christie Vilsack created a statewide literacy program and raised money to provide a book to all Iowa children in kindergarten.
Vilsack and her husband have two grown sons.
Christie Vilsack hopes that a well-funded campaign coupled with a dramatically changed district can help her defeat incumbent Republican Rep. Steve King in Iowa's 4th Congressional District in 2012.
Vilsack represents the biggest threat to King, who hasn't had a serious challenger since being elected to Congress in 2002.
A lifelong Iowan, she established residency in Ames before declaring her candidacy for the district, which was redrawn after the 2010 Census.
Her husband, Tom Vilsack, was elected governor in 1988. During her eight years as the state's first lady, she devoted much of her public time to literacy efforts.
After President Barack Obama named her husband U.S. agriculture secretary in 2009, Vilsack was occasionally mentioned as a possible House candidate. She opted to run in 2012 after redistricting dramatically reshaped Iowa's congressional districts due to the loss of one of the state's five seats.
The 4th District now includes a sprawling area in the state's northwest quarter as well as several counties in northeastern Iowa. Although Republicans still outnumber Democrats, the ratio isn't as large as in King's old district.
In her campaign, Vilsack has argued that the federal government has a role in public life, setting up a contrast with King, who supports dramatically reducing the scope of government.
She has called for increasing conservation of agricultural land and improving education by a variety of means, including expanding Head Start and protecting college tuition assistance.
She favors creation of a national energy plan that includes biofuels and other forms of alternative energy.
Vilsack opposes the federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman and believes the issue of same sex marriage should be left to the states.
She says she wants to ensure the future of Medicare but opposes Republican-backed calls for turning the government-run program into a voucher system.
Source: Associated Press
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