Governor Terry Branstad’s 92-year-old Aunt Helene has attended each of Branstad’s five previous inaugurations and she’s on her way to Des Moines for the ceremonies to mark the beginning of Branstad’s sixth term as governor. Helene Iverson is looking forward to seeing her nephew take the oath of office for a sixth time.
“You are thrilled and you are excited about it and it made me a little bit more interested in politics,” she told Radio Iowa this morning.
Iverson is the sister of Edward Branstad, the governor’s father, and she still lives in Branstad’s hometown of Lake Mills. She’s known Terry Branstad since his birth.
“A very ambitious boy. Just very, very active in sports and he became a Republican before his parents did, I believe,” Iverson said, with a laugh.
According to Iverson, Branstad was “eager” to enter politics at a young age, winning a seat in the Iowa House in 1974 before he had finished law school.
“His mother was discouraging him from running, because she was interested in him finishing law school,” Iverson said, “but it all worked out really fine.”
Rita Branstad, the governor’s mother, died in 1990 and his father died in 2013. Helene Branstad Iverson and three other people set out from north central Iowa early this afternoon and they plan to attend tonight’s “Inaugural Service of Dedication” at Christ the King Catholic Church in Des Moines.
“I’m eager to talk personally with Chris and Terry,” she said of First Lady Chris Branstad and her nephew.
Helene Branstad Iverson will be sitting in the family section tomorrow morning for the inauguration ceremony in downtown Des Moines, but she’s skipping the Inaugural Ball and heading back home to Lake Mills Friday afternoon.