Iowa Republicans held a tribute for former President Ronald Reagan today in downtown Des Moines. Former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad spoke at the ceremony held in front of a bronze plaque that notes Reagan’s early career as a radio broadcaster in the state. He says Reagan never forgot his roots and was always proud to come back to Iowa. Branstad says he hopes “that we will be inspired by what he accomplished.” Branstad recalled being energized by a speech Reagan gave in Des Moines in 1967 when Branstad was a college student. Branstad went on to be governor while Reagan was president, and credited Reagan with the country’s economic turnaround.He says Ronald Reagan really inspired America when we were in a period of malaise. He helped restore, “What I would call the spirit of volunteerism, the spirit of the pioneers that built this country. The can-do attitude that we are American and can do things that we never imagined.” Branstad says he hopes to see a return to the Republican enthusiasm that Reagan brought to Iowa. And he recalled how the man known as the “Gipper” for one of his movie roles worked his magic on Iowa.He says the Republicans haven’t won the state in 20 years–since Ronald Reagan ran for reelection. Branstad says that was when Reagan was behind in the polls and had to rally to win. Branstad says, “I hope that we can win this one for the Gipper as well.” Branstad and former Iowa First-lady Billie Ray laid a wreath in front of the plaque and others laid red, white and blue flowers there in honor of the one-time Iowan turned president.
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