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 served as Iowa's longest-serving governor, from 1983 to 1999. As the state's chief executive, he weathered some of the worse economic turmoil Iowa has ever seen during the Farm Crisis, 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 surplus, and the enactment of historic government overhauls that led to greater efficiencies in state government.
Following his four terms as governor, Branstad went on to serve as President of Des Moines University. During his 6-year, 2-month tenure, he was able to grow the university into a world-class educational facility. Its graduates offer health care within all 50 states, and in nearly every Iowa county. While there, he grew enrollment, grew their endowment and integrated new buildings, programs and initiatives.
Under Branstad's leadership, DMU became the first college or university in America to receive the "Platinum Level of Recognition" from the Wellness Council of America.
In October of 2009, sensing a need for change in the way state government operates and wanting to "lead Iowa's comeback," Governor Branstad retired from DMU to explore running for governor in 2010.
He and his wife Chris have three grown children: Eric, Allison and Marcus, and two grandchildren, Mackenzie and Bridget.