Branstad Headed to China, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds would assume Governors desk

Official word on the job as Ambassador to China is expected Thursday night


Published 12/07 2016 10:55PM

Updated 12/07 2016 11:23PM

It looks like there could be a big shakeup at the Iowa capitol.  President-elect Donald Trump has offered Iowa's governor the job of ambassador to China.
And tonight Terry Branstad saying he's accepting the offer.

He's the nations longest serving governor but at 70 Terry Branstad apparently isn't ready to put his political life in park.  The governor Thursday calling his nomination as Ambassador to China an extraordinary opportunity.

Thursday night Governor Branstad saying in a statement, "After long discussions with my family, I am honored and humbled to be nominated to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to China."

Branstad's more than 30 year relationship with the Chinese helped China become Iowa and the United States 3rd largest export partner.  Something former Democartic Iowa Governor and U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says has prepared Branstad.

"He's tenacious and he's going to have to be.  He's tireless and he's going to have to be and he understands the importance of trade and he'll have to," said U-S Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack.

Iowa's exports to China have skyrocketed 94 percent to more than a billion dollars.

"Perhaps the governor reflected on this even more and decided this is a way for me to serve Iowans as well as the United States of America.  There is no one more suited to be the next Ambassador to China than Terry Branstad," said former Branstad aid Jimmy Centers.

Branstad still must gain senate approval, but little objection is expected meaning Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds would become Iowa's first woman governor.

Late Thursday night, Reynolds and her family returned to Des Moines after vacationing in Mexico.

In a written statement the Lt. Governor said quote "I have been honored to be a full partner with Gov. Branstad in this administration and know that the experience I've gained over the last six years has prepared me well for this next chapter of service to all Iowan's. "

Kim Reynolds began her political career in Clarke County, serving as the county treasurer in the early 2000's and started serving alongside Branstad in 2010.

"I love people and I am looking forward to getting out there and talking to the people of Iowa," said Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds in 2010.

A champion for "STEM" programs for Iowa students, Reynolds has become an advocate for investment in Iowa from big companies.

After a Branstad resignation, Reynolds automatically moves to the governors chair and will appoint her own Lt. Governor.

Ag secretary bill northery, who many have speculated would run for governor in 2018, is being mentioned as a top candidate.


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