Video of the floor speech is available here.

Floor Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley
On Terry Branstad as the Longest-serving Governor in U.S. History
Delivered Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mr. President, I’d like to recognize the Iowa governor, Terry Branstad, on a significant milestone.  On December 14, 2015, Governor Branstad will become the longest-serving governor in the nation’s history.

That’s a 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 small town farm background prepared Terry Branstad for his success as a state House member, lieutenant governor, and then governor in two separate tenures.

The farm crisis of the 1980s hit every farm state hard, and Iowa, at the heart of the nation’s bread basket, suffered deeply.  

All of us who lived in Iowa at the time saw friends and neighbors lose their family farms and struggle with what to do next to earn 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.  Terry Branstad was one of those people.

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 strong schools.

As a result, agriculture was and continues to be a mainstay of the Iowa economy, but agriculture more than ever is an engine for many other employment sectors:  renewable energy, manufacturing, crop research, insurance and financial services, and 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 2.5 percent.

The governor could have rested on those laurels and continued to work outside of state government, but he 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 a 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 Terry Branstad’s accomplishments and work ethic.  It’s gratifying to see those attributes get attention on a national scale and in the history books.  He’s earned his place.  We’re lucky to have him in Iowa.