Branstad confirmed as ambassador, Reynolds to become governor

By Erin Voegele | May 23, 2017

On May 22, the U.S. Senate voted 82 to 13 to confirm Iowa. Gov. Terry Branstad as the next U.S. ambassador to China. Branstad will resign as governor on May 24 and immediately be sworn in as ambassador, with Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds to be sworn in as Iowa governor. An announcement on Reynold’s decision whether or not to appoint a new lieutenant governor is expected to be make later this week.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that a boy from a small farm in Leland would one day have the opportunity to represent the United States and Iowa on the world stage, working closely with one of the world’s most influential countries and one of America’s largest trading partners,” Branstad said. “While I’m temporarily leaving the state I love and have governed for over 22 years, I know I’m leaving Iowa in great hands with Kim Reynolds.”

“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have Gov. Branstad as our governor and Chris as our first lady,” Lt. Gov. Reynolds said. “We’re even more fortunate to have him represent the country and our great state on the world stage. He’s the right person, at the right time, serving for the right reasons.”

The Renewable Fuels Association has spoken out to congratulate Branstad on his new post. “As the longest-serving governor in American history, Terry Branstad has been one of the most effective advocates for value-added agriculture, farmers and ethanol,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the RFA. “Today, with the U.S. ethanol industry continuing its international expansion of ethanol and high-protein feed, we look forward to working with Ambassador Branstad to ensure consumers in China and around the world have access to both the cleanest, lowest-cost and highest source of octane on the planet and cost-effective protein for poultry and cattle. Ambassador Branstad will be an effective and ardent advocate for President Trump’s commitment to putting America first around the world.”

Growth Energy has also applauded Branstad’s new role. “We congratulate Ambassador Branstad on his confirmation and look forward to a great champion for ethanol to serve in this role,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “This will hopefully be an important first step to re-opening the Chinese marketplace to American ethanol and distillers grains (DDGs).

“We thank Ambassador Branstad for his tireless work on behalf of America’s farmers and the biofuels industry in his capacity as governor of Iowa and we are excited to have a trusted ally in this important new role,” Skor continued.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association weighed in on the Reynolds new post as Iowa’s chief executive. “Throughout her tenure as a state senator and Iowa’s Lt. Governor, Kim Reynolds has been a steadfast advocate for renewable fuels,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the IRFA. “She was an active part of an administration that continually pushed Iowa policy to the forefront of the nation. As a result, today Iowa is the leader in both biofuels production and policy promoting higher blends like E15 and B20.  We look forward to working with the new Governor to continue growing access to Iowa’s own homegrown, earth-friendly fuels as part of Iowa’s strategy to be a national energy leader.”

“While we hate to lose such a passionate supporter for renewable fuels as governor, there are a number of vital trade issues with China that have a major impact on our industry,” Shaw said.  “With over three decades of international trade experience and his personal relationship with the Chinese president dating back just as long, we look forward to working with Ambassador Branstad in his new role to knock down artificial trade barriers between U.S. ethanol and distillers grains and China.”