Branstad Emphasizes Ag Experience During Nomination Hearing

WASHINGTON – Governor Branstad is moving another step closer to becoming Ambassador Branstad.

More than four months after being nominated by President Trump to become the next U.S. Ambassador to China, Gov. Branstad's confirmation hearings finally began Tuesday morning in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

For weeks he's been meeting with senators individual and Tuesday he had to answer questions from them with cameras rolling.

The hearing was mostly cordial with the governor and senators swapping farming stories and Iowa State Fair memories.

The governor said agriculture will play a big role in his work in China if he is confirmed.  He is promising to help strike trade deals to sell more of the crops and animals raised in America to the Chinese.

Branstad also promised to bring a piece of Iowa campaigning to China with him.

“As governor I had the opportunity to travel to all of Iowa’s 99 counties every year, a feat that is affectionately named for your esteemed colleague as the ‘Full Grassley’. As ambassador I hope to continue this tradition this by visiting every province in China.  With a country as large and expansive as China I know there is much life and activity outside of Beijing,” Branstad told the committee.

Branstad could still be called back for further testimony.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will now make a recommendation to the full U.S. Senate who will then have the final say.

The process could still take a few more weeks.