On December 7, 2016, Governor Branstad announced that he had accepted the nomination from President-elect Donald Trump to serve as Ambassador of the United States to the People’s Republic of China. He was confirmed by the Senate on May 22, 2017, and was sworn in on May 24, 2017.
Ambassador Terry Branstad was born, raised and educated in Iowa. A native of Leland, Branstad was elected to the Iowa House in 1972, ’74 and ’76, and elected as Iowa’s lieutenant governor in 1978.
Branstad was Iowa’s longest-serving governor, from 1983 to 1999. As the state’s chief executive, he weathered some of Iowa’s worst economic turmoil, during the farm crisis of the ‘80s, while helping lead the state’s resurgence to a booming economy in the ‘90s.
At the end of his tenure, Iowa enjoyed record employment, an unprecedented $900 million budget surplus, and the enactment of historic government overhauls that led to greater efficiencies in state government. As a result of Governor Branstad’s hands-on, round-the-clock approach to economic development, Iowa’s unemployment rate went from 8.5 percent when he took office to a record low 2.5 percent by the time he left in 1999.
Following his four terms as governor, Branstad served as president of Des Moines University (DMU). During his 6-year tenure, he was able to grow the university into a world-class educational facility. Its graduates offer health care in all 50 states and in nearly every Iowa county. While there, he grew enrollment, increased the endowment and integrated new buildings, programs and initiatives.
In October of 2009, sensing a need for change in the way state government operates and wanting to “lead Iowa’s comeback,” Branstad retired from DMU and was elected governor in 2010.
During his second tenure as Iowa governor from 2010 to 2017, the Legislature passed, and Gov. Branstad signed, a two-year budget with a 5-year projection for the first time in decades. This budget provided Iowa businesses the predictability and stability they needed to grow. Gov. Branstad also signed historic investments in Iowa’s infrastructure into law, including Iowa’s roads and bridges, as well as the innovative Connect Every Acre Plan that expanded high-speed broadband internet to Iowa’s agriculture industry, schools, businesses and homes.
In April 2017, Iowa Workforce Development announced that the state of Iowa’s unemployment had fallen to 3.1%, well below the national average and 8th lowest in the country.
He and his wife Chris have three grown children: Eric, Allison and Marcus, and seven grandchildren, Mackenzie, Bridget, Sofia, Alexis, Estelle, Everett and Fitzgerald.