Office of the Governor of Iowa

Governor Branstad


About the Governor

Governor Terry Branstad was born, raised and educated in Iowa. A native of Leland, Branstad was elected to the Iowa House in 1972, ’74 and ’76, and elected as Iowa’s lieutenant governor in 1978.

Branstad was Iowa’s longest-serving governor, from 1983 to 1999. As the state’s chief executive, he weathered some of Iowa’s worst economic turmoil, during the farm crisis of the ‘80s, while helping lead the state’s resurgence to a booming economy in the ‘90s.

At the end of his tenure, Iowa enjoyed record employment, an unprecedented $900 million budget surplus, and the enactment of historic government overhauls that led to greater efficiencies in state government. As a result of Governor Branstad’s hands-on, round-the-clock approach to economic development, Iowa’s unemployment rate went from 8.5 percent when he took office to a record low 2.5 percent by the time he left in 1999.

Following his four terms as governor, Branstad went on to serve as president of Des Moines University (DMU). During his 6-year tenure, he was able to grow the university into a world-class educational facility. Its graduates offer health care in all 50 states and in nearly every Iowa county. While there, he grew enrollment, increased the endowment and integrated new
buildings, programs and initiatives.

In October of 2009, sensing a need for change in the way state government operates and wanting to “lead Iowa’s comeback,” Branstad retired from DMU to explore running for governor in 2010. He launched his campaign in January of 2010, and in June he won the Republican primary and named energetic state Senator Kim Reynolds as his running mate.

This team traveled to each of Iowa’s 99 counties, sharing their commitment to the creation of 200,000 new jobs for Iowans, a 15 percent reduction in the cost of government, a 25 percent increase in family incomes, and a renewal of national excellence of Iowa’s schools. As a result, they were elected as Iowa’s governor and lieutenant governor on November 2, 2010 and were sworn into office on January 14, 2011.

True to his word, Gov. Branstad, along with Lt. Gov. Reynolds, committed to a balanced budget in their first year in office. For the first time in decades, the Legislature passed, and Gov. Branstad signed, a two-year budget with a 5-year projection. This budget provided Iowa businesses the predictability and stability they needed to grow. They have continued and remain committed to their commitment to this balanced budgeting approach.

The governor and lieutenant governor have made job creation a top priority as governor, and they spearheaded the largest tax cut in Iowa’s history during the 2013 legislative session. When fully implemented, all classes of Iowa property will see a $4.6 billion tax cut.

Also in 2013, the governor’s goal to make Iowa’s schools number one in the nation again took a significant step forward through our education reform package, which boosts teaching as a profession and will offer the rigorous classes needed to ensure our students are ready for a 21st Century economy.

Gov. Branstad continues to advance government efficiencies, and is committed to spending the hardworking taxpayers’ dollars in the most effective manner possible. When running for governor, Branstad and Reynolds set a goal of reducing the size and cost of government by 15%, which was the structural deficit between spending and what the state actually took in.

As a result of their work with the Legislature, the state of Iowa has erased the $900 million spending deficit that existed when the governor and lieutenant governor took office in 2011, and turned it around into a $900 million surplus today.

He and his wife Chris have three grown children: Eric (Adrianne), Allison (Jerry Costa) and Marcus (Nicole), and six grandchildren, Mackenzie, Bridget, Sofia, Alexis, Estelle and Everett.