Senate confirms Iowa Governor Branstad as ambassador to China

Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Joy Corning dies at 84

The US Senate on Monday confirmed Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next ambassador to Beijing, providing President Donald Trump with an envoy whose decades-long connection to China could smooth relations between the global powers.

Mr Branstad, who like Mr Trump is 70, has known Chinese President Xi Jinping since the mid-1980s, when the Asian leader visited Iowa as a provincial official.

The two first met as part of a sister-state exchange in 1985 when the governor welcomed a young agricultural official with a prestigious family background to Iowa to interact with local officials and live out on the farm.

Branstad will resign on Wednesday from his role as governor of Iowa, ending his career as the longest-serving USA governor.

Corning didn't mention her role as lieutenant governor in the obituary she wrote, the Des Moines Register reported.

Corning served two terms as lieutenant governor under Branstad beginning in 1990. In his statement, Branstad praised Reynolds, saying he was "leaving Iowa in great hands".

"As an old friend, I'd tell him where he's falling short", Branstad said earlier this month before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

With the vote, Branstad will resign as Governor later this week, clearing the way for Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds to become Iowa's first female Governor.


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

Gov. Terry Branstad, soon to be sworn in as the USA ambassador to China, will serve his country well.

Branstad said he and his wife, Chris, will maintain their home on Lake Panorama and are in the process of sorting and packing things as they prepare to vacate the governor's Terrace Hill mansion.

Iowa Republicans, who engineered a contentious and remarkable conservative shift in direction for state government for Branstad's final legislative session, call him a living legend.

He will bring Midwestern humility and level-headed leadership to the job. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who called him "the right person for the job" while Sen. "She's a thrower and I'm a saver, let's put it that way, but that's always been the case", he noted.

"She has been shielded so far by Branstad's success, enacting much of what he wanted the legislature to do", said Mack Shelley, chair of the political science department.

"I will not shed a tear for his departure to China".

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