Tribute to Governor Terry Branstadby Senator Chuck Grassley
Posted on 2015-12-10
GRASSLEY. Madam President, I wish to honor Iowa Governor Terry
Branstad on a very historic milestone. On December 14 of this year,
Governor Branstad will become the longest serving Governor in the
Nation's history. He breaks a record set by Governor Clinton of New
York in the early days of our country, even before the Constitution of
our country was established, between the Articles of Confederation into
the early years of New York as a State in the United States of America.
That is a very large feather in the cap of a farm kid from the town of
Leland, population 289, in Winnebago County in northern Iowa.
In many ways, a smalltown farm background prepared Terry Branstad for his success as a State house member, Lieutenant Governor, and then Governor on two separate occasions. If he finishes this term--and he will--it will add up to 24 years as Governor.
The farm crisis of the 1980s hit every farm State hard, and Iowa, at the heart of the Nation's breadbasket, suffered deeply. All of us who lived in Iowa at that time saw friends and neighbors lose their family farms and struggle with what to do next for a living. The State needed men and women with vision and ambition to pull the economy out of the doldrums. It needed people who could see the potential for farmers to add value to their operations and for Iowa to diversify its economy, which it has now done.
Of all the people out there, Terry Branstad stood out as Governor. He was at the forefront of creating a new environment to do business. He welcomed and actively encouraged innovation that would capitalize on Iowa's bedrock work ethic and our strong schools. As a result, agriculture was and continues to be a mainstream of Iowa's economy. But agriculture more than ever is an engine for many other employment sectors: renewable energy, manufacturing, crop research, insurance and financial services, and, of course, as we Iowans know, much more.
As Governor from 1983 to 1999, Terry Branstad took the helm during some of the State's worst economic turmoil in decades and steered the ship toward impressive economic growth. The unemployment rate went from 8.5 percent to a record low of 2.5 percent. The Governor could have rested on those laurels and continued to work outside of State government after he retired after those first 16 years, but he again answered the call when the State needed him again in 2010. He put the State of Iowa's interests ahead of his own and went to work for Iowans this second time, bringing his valuable leadership to the Governor's office for another round. That, in a nutshell, tells you everything you need to know about Terry Branstad.
The State of Iowa comes first for him. Iowans are well acquainted with [[Page S8576]] Terry Branstad's accomplishments and work ethic. It is gratifying to see those attributes get attention on a national scale and in the history books. He has earned his place in history.
Of course, First Lady Christine Branstad ought to be complimented too. We thank her for her public service and, most importantly, for sharing her family with all Iowans.
We are lucky to have had Governor Terry Branstad for these years as chief executive in Iowa, and, of course, I am lucky to call him a friend.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hoeven). The Senator from Maryland.