Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the secretary of agriculture in the new Obama administration.

The vote on Vilsack took place the same day his new boss, Barack Obama, was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States in a ceremony watched by an estimated 2 million people on the National Mall and countless others on television.

Vilsack ran briefly for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination before leaving the race due to a lack of funding in 2007. He worked on behalf of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and then supported Obama.

“President Obama could not have made a better selection for agriculture secretary than Tom Vilsack,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, a fellow Iowan and chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. “He knows how to bring change that will help to strengthen and rebuild the farm and rural economy on a sound foundation.”

Harkin noted that as governor of Iowa, “Tom Vilsack was committed to better nutrition and providing food assistance to those who needed it. He built a strong record in promoting renewable energy, rural economic opportunity, and conservation. These qualifications will serve him well as he transitions into agriculture secretary.”