Obama picks Vilsack, Salazar for Cabinet

December 18, 2008 8:56:28 AM PST
On a pre-holiday push to fill his Cabinet, President-elect Barack Obama announced Wednesday his choices of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to be agriculture secretary and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar to lead the Interior Department. Press conf. video: President-elect Barack Obama announced more cabinet choices at a news conference Wesnesday. (Part 2: Obama answers questions from the press)

It is time for a new kind of leadership in Washington that's committed to using our lands in a responsible way to benefit all of our families," Obama said in a news conference, his third in as many days to announce Cabinet choices.

"With the appointments I announced earlier this week and the appointments I announce today, I am confident we have the team we need to make the rural agenda America's agenda, to create millions of new green jobs, to free our nation from its dependence on oil and to help preserve this planet for our children."

Obama said his administration will ensure that policies in the two departments -- which oversee federal farming and lands policies -- are designed to serve "not big agribusiness or Washington influence peddlers but family farmers and the American people."

He said this means promoting not only development but protection of environmental treasures and expanding not only the agricultural industry but new energy sources.

Transition officials say more announcements are likely this week before Obama heads to Hawaii for Christmas vacation with his family.