Tom Vilsack has gone from politician to lucky Powerball player.
The former Democratic Iowa governor and U.S. secretary of agriculture won $150,000 in the Jan. 22 drawing after turning in a ticket he said slipped his mind.
“I forgot about the ticket,” he said, according to a news release Monday from the Iowa Lottery. “Then I woke up 10 days later on a Saturday morning and I said, ‘Oh, geez, I wonder how I did?’”
His ticket was just one number away from winning that night’s jackpot, matching four of the five white balls and the Powerball. He bought the ticket at the Hy-Vee store at 1005 E. Hickman Road in Waukee.
Vilsack told the lottery he already has plans for the money.
“The church is going to get a little bit of it, St. Boniface, I’m going to send that check out today,” he said, according to the news release. “And the kids are going to get a little bit because you always try to help your kids out. And then the rest is going to go to my banker. And he’s going to be very pleased to get it. Because we still have an outstanding mortgage from many years ago and this will help pay it down to the point where retirement can be a little bit more comfortable than it might have otherwise been.”
The Powerball’s jackpot had grown to an estimated $347 million that night. Vilsack, who was governor from 1999 to 2007, said he does not routinely play Powerball but does occasionally when the jackpot gets above $250 million.
“I think, ‘What the heck?’ You know, you can dream, like everybody else,” he said.