Iowa Governor Branstad confirmed as US Ambassador to China

Posted May 23, 2017

The nation's longest serving governor is on track to win Senate confirmation as President Donald Trump's ambassador to China.

Joni Ernst, Iowa's other U.S. Senator, said Branstad will be an "effective advocate" for U.S. interests in China.

In 1985, Branstad met Chinese president Xi Jinping, then a Hebei provincial official visiting Iowa as part of a sister state/province program.

Branstad, 70, who served as Iowa's 39th governor from 1983-99 and now as its 42nd governor since returning to Terrace Hill in 2011, announced he will resign his post Wednesday and turn over state executive duties to Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds before embarking on his new assignment.

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Upon his resignation, Lieutenant Governor Kin Reynolds will become the next Governor of Iowa.

Branstad is in his sixth nonconsecutive term as Iowa's governor.

Though he had won praise from Democrats and Republicans alike at the committee level, 13 senators - all Democrats - voted Monday against his confirmation. Branstad has also traveled to China several times on trade missions.

An inaugural celebration for Iowa's first female governor, Kim Reynolds, will be hosted by the Republican Party of Iowa on June 2.

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President Donald Trump has warned that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea is possible over its weapons programs, although US officials say tougher sanctions, not military force, are the preferred option. "He is a workhorse who is unafraid to get into the trenches to get the job done". "Governor Branstad is uniquely qualified to help strengthen the trade, economic, cultural and geopolitical relationships between our two countries".

I'm pleased that the Senate is finally considering the nomination of Governor Branstad to be Ambassador to China.

"I'm approaching this with eyes wide open", said Branstad, who jokingly tells people he sees at the Capitol to come visit him in China.

Although his heart will always be in Iowa, I know that Governor Branstad will throw himself into this job whole-heartedly. "I think your on-the-ground experience with China will serve our nation well". "I want to do the best I can there", he said in a recent interview.

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