Terry Branstad is the incumbent Governor of Iowa who took office on January 14, 2011. Soon, he will be leaving Governorship to hold the post of US Ambassador to China under Trump presidency. Formerly, Terry was the 39th Governor of Iowa(1983 – 1999), Chair of the National Governors’ Association (1989 – 1990), Lieutenant Governor of Iowa (1979 – 1983) and a member of the Iowa House of Representatives (1973 – 1979).

Early Life and Education

Terry Branstad was born on November 17, 1946 to father Edward and mother Rita L. Raised in a Lutheran family in Leland, Iowa, Branstad attended a local school and later joined the University of Iowa for an undergraduate degree in political science. Terry shifted his subject concentration to Juris Doctor while studying at Drake University.

Personal Life

70-year-old Terry Branstad is married to Christine Branstad since June 17, 1972. The couple has two sons, Eric and Marcus, and a daughter, Allison. Christine is a former social worker.

Terry Branstad with his wife.
Terry Branstad with his wife.


Graduating from the University of Iowa in 1969, Branstad joined the US Army as a military policeman. Serving under the 503rd Military Police Battalion, Branstad was commemorated with Army Commendation Medal. In 1971, Branstad completed his military service and went off for further studies at Drake University. While at Drake, he had already risen as a young and influential political leader.

In 1972, Terry defeated Democrat opponent Elmer Selbrand with 59% votes and reserved a seat for himself at the Iowa House of Representatives. Subsequently, he won two more consecutive elections in 1974 and 1976 with 68.7% and 70.4% votes respectively. With rising fame in the Iowa politics, Branstad decided to run for Lieutenant Governor of Iowa in 1978. He saw another victory against Hansen’s 32.7% votes and Oakley’s 25.2% votes with 42.1% votes in favor. Branstad remained in the position for until 1983.

In 1982, Branstad bade for the position of Governor of Iowa. Having received the Republican nomination, he joined the 1982 General Election against Democrat Roxanne Conlin and third party candidates Marcia Farrington and Jim Bittner. Terry’s campaign gained huge popular favor and won with 52.8% votes. Branstad announced his intention for a second term in 1986 general election and again saw a victory but with a very tight competition against Democrat Lowell Junkins. In 1994, he ran for a third term in the office and received the Republican nomination with 51.8% votes as opposed to Fred Grandy’s 48.1% votes. In the general election, Branstad had a landslide victory with 56.8% votes against Democrat Bonnie Campbell’s 41.6% votes.

Leaving the office on January 15, 1999 after serving three terms as Governor of Iowa, Branstad went a bit off track from politics. He commenced Branstad and Associated LLC in collaboration with a few other partners. Starting 2003, he joined Des Moines University as President and retired in 2009 to seek for another tenure as Governor of Iowa. In 2010 Republican Gubernatorial Election, Terry gained the nominated with 50.4% votes in favor. He went on to win the general election against Democrat Chet Culver with 52.9% votes. Subsequently, Branstad sought for another term at the office and received a massive support from 79.8% Republicans. Later, he defeated Jack Hatch with a landslide margin of more than 22% votes.

Donald Trump and Terry Branstad

Donald Trump and Terry Branstad together in Iowa.
Donald Trump and Terry Branstad together in Iowa.

As both the leader represent the same political party, they have similar political ideologies by default. Hence, President Trump offered Terry Branstad the position of US Ambassador to China in December 2016. The incumbent Iowa Governor, who is considered to be an old friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is expected to address US-China issues and strengthen bilateral relations.

Categories: Biography

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