Branstad confirmed as ambassador to China

Toast for the friendship

According to a news release, Branstad will resign as governor Wednesday and immediately be sworn in as ambassador.

Terry Branstad has been cleared to head to China.

Shortly after his resignation, Reynolds will be sworn in as governor in a ceremony at the Capitol in Des Moines.

Importantly, Governor Branstad also knows China and its leaders well.

Branstad noted that he and Xi have been friends since their first meeting in April of 1985.

When he returned to office, Branstad campaigned on four goals aimed at job growth, reducing state government costs, increasing family incomes and making Iowa's schools the best in the nation.

Senators voted 82-13 by roll call to approve President Donald Trump's nomination of Branstad to the serve in a critical worldwide role as America's representation in one of the world's most-powerful nations.

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This nominee received unanimous support in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee more than a week ago.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey called Branstad's departure "bitter sweet" but said the council was excited for the governor's new opportunity and the prospects for expanding trade in a key region. Their meeting blossomed into an global friendship that now has Branstad perched at the start of what he calls "the opportunity of a lifetime" as ambassador to China.

Branstad, 70, is the longest-serving governor in the United States. Following the vote, he said Branstad had not defended American workers in his own state, and the senator had no faith in his ability to do so as an ambassador.

As governor, he's been vigorous in promoting our state's economy and opening markets for our farm commodities, financial services and manufacturing to the world marketplace.

During his confirmation hearing earlier in May, Branstad said, if confirmed, he would work to "positively influence" the US-China relationship.

A sister-state relationship in 1983 has grown into a successful trade partnership that has benefited Iowa farmers and businesses.

President Donald Trump has warned that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea is possible over its weapons programs, although USA officials say tougher sanctions, not military force, are the preferred option.

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