UPDATED 4:58 PM BY WOODY GOTTBURG
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he’s “honored and humbled” that President-elect Donald Trump has chosen him as ambassador to China.
Trump announced his pick of Branstad on Wednesday at a Manhattan fundraiser.
Branstad released a statement noting his long ties to Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he first met in 1985 and says “the respect and admiration built over their decades-old friendship gives him an opportunity to help the President-elect and serve Iowa, the United States and the world for the better.”
Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds says her six years in office have prepared her for her upcoming new role as governor.
Reynolds will become Iowa’s first female governor after Branstad steps down to become ambassador to China.
The likely departure of the nation’s longest-serving governor to accept an appointment as U.S. ambassador to China means Iowa could be led by its first female governor.
An aide to President-elect Donald Trump confirmed on Wednesday that Trump has offered to nominate Republican Gov. Terry Branstad for the ambassadorship, and that the governor is expected to accept.
If Branstad accepts and is confirmed by the Senate, Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds would become Iowa’s governor. She would hold the position until Branstad’s term ends in January 2019, and she could run for governor in 2018.
The 57-year-old Reynolds was a first-term state senator when Branstad chose her to run for election as his lieutenant governor.
Reynolds has focused on economic development and education during her six years as lieutenant governor.