Governor Terry Branstad will be in front of a screen watching later today as the U.S. Senate votes on his nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to China.
“It’s coming up at 5:30 eastern time,” Branstad told reporters this morning. “That’d be 4:30 our time.” Branstad is wearing a red tie, made in China today, but the governor isn’t superstitious and his fashion choice wasn’t intentional. There’s a gathering this evening at the governor’s mansion for staff and state agency directors that Branstad says will be one of the last official things he does there.
Branstad and his wife have been sorting through their belongings. Branstad admitted to reporters he and his wife will probably do more packing tonight as well.
“She’s kind of been the lead person on that, but I’ve been helping,” Branstad said. A reporter asked: “Does she have item veto power or do you?” Branstad and some of his staff laughed. “She’s a thrower and I’m a saver, let’s put it that way, but that’s always been the case, but I have a tendency not want to throw anything away.”
They’re packing for a long-term stay in China. They’re sending some things to their home on Lake Panorama. Some of it’s going to a museum in Forest City, near the farm where Branstad grew up. His military uniform and some other military memorabilia has already been deposited at the Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston. This is day 8,167 of Branstad’s tenure as governor.
“That’s longer than anybody else has ever served in any other state,” Branstad said. “But time flies when you’re having fun, right?” Branstad has indicated for months that he intends to resign “within a matter of days” after he’s confirmed, as expect.
The governor presided over his final executive council meeting earlier this morning. That’s the group of statewide elected officials, including the governor, who meet weekly.