|United States Ambassador to China|
From: May 24, 2017 –
|Successor||Incumbent (no successor)|
|42nd Governor of Iowa|
From: January 14, 2011 – May 24, 2017
|39th Governor of Iowa|
From: January 14, 1983 – January 15, 1999
Jo Ann Zimmerman
Terry Branstad (born November 17, 1946, in Leland, Iowa) is the United States Ambassador to China. He previously was the longest-serving governor in U.S. history, serving in the state of Iowa from 1983 to 1999 and again from 2011 to 2017. He also served as the president of Des Moines University from 2003 to 2009.
Branstad received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Iowa in 1969 and a law degree from Drake University Law School in 1974. He served in the U.S. Army from 1969-1971. Branstad served three terms in the Iowa House of Representatives. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1978 and Governor in 1982. Branstad chaired the National Governors Association in 1989-1990. Iowa's longest-serving Governor, Branstad left office with a historically low 2.7% unemployment rate and $900 million budget surplus.
Branstad was re-elected governor in 1986, 1990, and 1994, after which he stepped down, becoming Iowa's longest-serving Governor in the process. He then ran again for Governor in 2010 (defeating Democratic incumbent Chet Culver) and was re-elected in 2014. In 2015 he became the longest serving Governor of any state.
In 2017, with massive GOP majorities in the Iowa legislature, Branstad signed into law legislation massively expanding gun rights, including enacting and expanding a stand-your-ground law, providing legal advantages to gun owners, and giving additional rights to minors, among other provisions. He also signed voter ID legislation into law and defunded Planned Parenthood.
In May 2017, Branstad was confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to China. He resigned as Iowa governor on May 24 to take up his new position. Even before becoming the Ambassador to China, Branstad had a close relationship with Xi Jinping. He arrived in China in late-June 2017.
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