DES MOINES, Iowa -- Governor Terry Branstad is officially resigning Wednesday on his 8,169th day as governor at 10 a.m. to take on a new position as the US Ambassador to China.
His Lieutenant Governor, Kim Reynolds, will be sworn in as governor at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol rotunda.
Gov. Branstad is the longest serving governor in the nation.
“I really am excited about this new opportunity to serve the United States of America as the ambassador to the most populated country in the world,” Gov. Branstad said.
As governor, he signed almost too many bills to count. To put that into perspective, he signed 62 in May 2017.
Some of the most memorable bills include the lottery bill he signed in 1985, which created the lottery for the state of Iowa.
He legalized greyhound and horse race betting, as well as riverboat casinos around that same time in the late 80s and early 90s.
He also led the state through the farm crisis of the 1980s which was a really tough time for the Midwest.
After his many years in office Gov. Branstad said there’s always more to be done.
“There’s always going to be unfinished work. And obviously water quality is one of those issues. It passed both houses but they weren’t able in the last night of the session to get that worked out. I’m very hopeful that we will see a long term reliable source of funding without raising taxes made available,” Gov. Branstad said.
Lt. Gov. Reynolds said she is ready to take on the new legislation.
“Our office and department heads are prepared to implement the legislation that was passed this legislative session. And I will also be meeting with the full cabinet in the near future so we can talk about aligning the priorities, discuss any ideas and next steps,” Lt. Gov. Reynolds said.
Gov. Branstad said this position doesn’t mean he will be leaving Iowa for good.
“This is just temporary. We’re coming back. And we are going to store some things right here in Des Moines. And we have a home at Lake Panorama and we do intend to hopefully get back at least a couple times per year. And we are going to stay in touch with our friends and family and constituents,” Gov. Branstad said.
Gov. Branstad made a point to visit all 99 counties every year.
He said Lt. Gov. Reynolds has his full support now and in the future.