Iowa Lottery Is Good to Former Iowa Governor

Tom Vilsack won $150K playing Powerball
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2020 3:33 PM CST
Iowa Lottery Is Good to Former Iowa Governor
This handout photo provided by the Iowa Lottery shows Iowa Lottery CEO Matt Strawn, left, posing with Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor and US agriculture secretary, after Vilsack claimed a $150,000 Powerball prize on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Clive, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Iowa Lottery via AP)

You can't win if you don't play, and it turns out one of Iowa's former governors does play on occasion. Tom Vilsack, who held that office from 1999 to 2007 and then took on the role of US Secretary of Agriculture for the next 8 years, is a Powerball winner, though he didn't win the big prize. Iowa Lottery officials on Monday announced Vilsack had claimed $150,000 he won in the Jan. 22 drawing. The jackpot was at $347 million, and Vilsack says he failed to even check his ticket for 10 days, reports KCCI. When he pulled it from his briefcase, he realized he had every number but one correct.

Vilsack explained his motivation in playing: "Occasionally when the Powerball gets above $250 million, I think, 'What the heck?' You know, you can dream, like everybody else. And I also know that the chances of me winning anything are next to none and so the money is going to go to education or veterans or the state fund for natural resources or infrastructure, or all the good things that the lottery does. So, I figure it’s a good contribution." He says his winnings will go to his church, his kids, and to paying down his mortgage. But it's maybe not the windfall that it sounds: The Des Moines Register reports he's paid $999,421 as CEO of the US Dairy Export Council. (More Powerball stories.)

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