MASON CITY, Iowa -When asked how it felt to be chosen to become the next Ambassador to China, Governor Terry Branstad couldn’t hide the grin on his face.
“It’s pretty hard to imagine that a farm kid from Winnebago county would first of all serve 22 years as governor, that’s an all-time record in United States history, but to be selected by the President-Elect of the United States to be the Ambassador of China,” Branstad said.
Branstad says he’s worked hard during his time as governor to create close ties with china. In 1983, he declared Iowa a sister state with the country and two years later when China’s president visited the Hawkeye state, Branstad showed him around, even stopping by Sukup manufacturing in Sheffield.
“And he told me, he spent 45 minutes telling me how much he loved Iowa because we treat him so well, and he calls me an old friend. It’s kind of neat to be called on old friend by the leader of China,” Branstad said.
Branstad says he already has plans on what he’d like to do in his new role. First, the wants to see the beef market open back up. He also hopes to promote renewable energy and encourage the Chinese government to invest in his home state, but he also knows that his work is cut out for him.
“It’s a big assignment, biggest embassy in the world. 2,000 employees, five consultants around China, I know it’s going to be a challenging job, I’m excited,” Branstad said.
No matter where he goes or who he meets, he plans to remember his roots.
“I had a lot of responsibility at an early age. I learned a lot working long hours on the farm and I think that served me well as governor, I feel that’s going to be a great assignment to me as I go to China,” Branstad said.
Branstad says he plans to attend Trump’s inauguration next Friday.