Governor Terry Branstad was born, raised and educated in Iowa. A native of Leland, Branstad was elected to the Iowa House in 1972, ’74 and ’76, and elected as Iowa’s lieutenant governor in 1978.
Branstad was Iowa’s longest-serving governor from 1983 to 1999. As the state’s chief executive, he weathered some of Iowa’s worst economic turmoil, the farm crisis of the ‘80s, while helping lead the state’s resurgence to a booming economy in the ‘90s.
At the end of his tenure, Iowa enjoyed record employment, an unprecedented $900 million budget surplus, and the enactment of historic government overhauls that led to greater efficiencies in state government. As a result of Governor Branstad’s hands-on, round-the-clock approach to economic development, Iowa’s unemployment rate went from 8.5 percent when he took office to a record low 2.5 percent by the time he left in 1999.
Following his four terms as governor, Branstad went on to serve as President of Des Moines University. During his 6-year tenure, he was able to grow the university into a world-class educational facility. Its graduates offer health care in all 50 states and in nearly every Iowa county. While there, he grew enrollment, increased the endowment and integrated new buildings, programs and initiatives.
In October of 2009, sensing a need for change in the way state government operates and wanting to “lead Iowa’s comeback” Branstad retired from DMU to explore running for governor in 2010. He launched his campaign in January, and
in June he won the Republican primary and named energetic State Senator Kim Reynolds as his running mate.
This team traveled to each of Iowa’s 99 counties, sharing their commitment to the creation of 200,000 new jobs for Iowans, a 15 percent reduction in the cost of government, a 25 percent increase in family incomes, and a renewal of national excellence of Iowa’s schools. As a result, they were elected as Iowa’s governor and lieutenant governor on November 2, 2010 and were sworn into office on January 14, 2011.
He and his wife Chris have three grown children: Eric (Adrianne), Allison (Jerry Costa) and Marcus (fiancé Nicole Haas), and four grandchildren, Mackenzie, Bridget, Sofia and Alexis.
Watch the RGA’s American Comeback feature on Governor Branstad: