MT. PLEASANT, Iowa — Tom Vilsack’s political story already reads like a modern Horatio Alger tale: a humble beginning at an orphanage in Pittsburgh followed by a rise to governor of Iowa and then to the nation’s secretary of agriculture.

Back in Iowa last weekend, Vilsack declined to acknowledge whether he’s being considered for another celebrated chapter — as running mate to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

With his Midwestern ties, experience in elected office and policy record in Washington, Vilsack could bring some key advantages to the Democratic ticket. His family ties to the Clintons date back to 1972 when his late brother-in-law worked with Hillary Clinton.