DES MOINES, Iowa -- Terry Branstad traded one office for another on Wednesday morning, resigning as Governor and immediately being sworn in as US Ambassador to China.
Here is Branstad's full statement as he transitioned to his new role in the Trump administration.
“Lt. Governor Reynolds, Madam Speaker Upmeyer, Mr. Majority Leader Dix, Mr. Chief Justice Cady, Judge Colloton, statewide elected officials, legislators, family, friends, and my fellow Iowans, good morning.
Never in my wildest dreams did I believe a farm kid from Leland, Iowa would become the longest serving governor in American history.
It has been a great honor to serve.
I learned a long time ago that this is a job that can’t be accomplished without a great team of people assisting.
I want to especially thank my wife Chris, and our children Eric, Allison and Marcus, their spouses Adrianne, Jerry and Nicole and our 7 grandchildren who are with us today for their love and support through these many years.
I would also like to thank Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds who has been a great partner; the governor’s staff both here in the Capitol and at Terrace Hill as well as the Department heads in state government.
Your dedication and commitment to Iowa has always inspired me.
I was humbled to be recruited back to the governor’s office and lead the economic comeback.
And I’m proud of what we have accomplished the last 6 years and 4 months.
Iowans elected us to come back and straighten up state government.
And we did.
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and our entire team have worked tirelessly to bring more and better jobs to Iowa, improve our schools and give Iowans a smaller and smarter government.
We have brought the unemployment rate down from over 6% to 3.1% today.
And Iowa has the highest high school graduation rate in the country.
We have a smaller government that is more responsive to the needs of the people.
We have dramatically reduced the permitting time for job creators.
And we’ve become one of the best managed states in the nation.
Over the past six years and four months, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and I have worked tirelessly to deliver more jobs, higher incomes, better schools and a smaller, smarter government for Iowans.
We have worked together to improve our business climate, cut taxes, improve career prospects for our teachers, reduce the cost of health care, protect the unborn, and safeguard our most dearly held freedoms.
As I become the next US Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, I’m proud of what we have accomplished.
Iowa is positioned for opportunity and growth and I’m confident that our next governor is well prepared to lead Iowa to an even brighter future.
No one has ever been more prepared to become Governor than Kim Reynolds.
I am thankful for the friendships we have made in all 99 counties – friendships that we will always cherish.
And I am grateful for the prayers from Iowans who have encouraged me along the way.
There is no better job in the world than being the governor of the state that you love.
But sometimes we are called to serve in ways we had never imagined.
And now I am pleased to present my letter of resignation as I prepare for this exciting new adventure as U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.”