Terry E. Branstad

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 13:29, 27 October 2012 by Maresa Strano (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Terry E. Branstad
Terry Branstad.jpg
Governor of Iowa
In office
1983-1988, January 14, 2011 - Present
Years in position (current service)4
Years in position (previous service)5
Prior offices
Lieutenant Governor of Iowa
Iowa House of Representatives
Bachelor'sUniversity of Iowa (1969)
J.D.Drake University School of Law (1974)
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1969-1971
CitationsArmy Commendation Medal
Date of birthNovember 17, 1946
Place of birthLeland, Iowa
Office website
Terry E. Branstad (b. November 17, 1946 Leland, Iowa) is the Republican Governor of Iowa. Branstad previously served as governor from 1983 to 1998. He also served as Lieutenant Governor from 1979 to 1983 and in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1973 to 1979.


Terry Branstad is an Iowa native, originally deriving form Norwegian ancestry. He studied at the Unveristy of Iowa and at Drake University, finishing his law degree in 1974. In between his undergraduate and graduate schooling, Branstad joined the Army and served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971, earning the Army Commendation Medal.

Following three terms in Iowa's House of Representatives, Terry was elected Lt. Governor in 1978. In the following election cycle, he won the governorship. 36 at the time he entered the governor's office, he holds the distinction of being Iowa's youngest chief executive. Branstad's first stint as governor, covering four terms from 1983 to 1999, makes him Iowa's longest serving governor.

In 1991, he earned the perpetual animosity of organized labor when he vetoed a salary bill for labor unions in spite of binding arbitration. The union sued and eventually won, in AFSCME Iowa Council 61 et al., v. Branstad. Beginning in 2003, Branstad spent slightly over six years as President of Des Moines University, boosting the school's graduate ranking and seeing DMU become the Wellness Council of America's first Platinum Recognition university.

He also founded the law firm of Branstad and Associates, L.L.C and additionally accepted a partnership in Kaufman, Patee, Branstad & Miller. Simultaneously, Branstad served as financial adviser to Robert W. Baird and Co., Inc. and was a visiting professor at the University of Iowa. His appointment as Des Moines University's leader came after President George W. Bush named him head of the President's Commission for Excellence in Special Education.

He retired from DMU in October of 2009 to launch a gubernatorial exploratory committee and officially entered the race in January of 2010.


  • BA, University of Iowa (1969)
  • JD, Drake University School of Law (1974)

Political career

Governor (1983-1999, 2011-present)

Branstad was first elected governor in November, 1982. From 1983-1999, he was the state's longest serving chief executive officer. He retired after 1999 only to re-emerge in 2010 and run for a fifth term. He was elected and sworn in in January of 2011.[1]

Possibility to appoint entire Iowa Supreme Court after 2016

Since beginning his fifth nonconsecutive gubernatorial term in 2011, Branstad has appointed three Justices to the Iowa Supreme Court. Under the current judicial selection system, supreme court hopefuls submit applications to the State Judicial Nominating Commission, "a panel of licensed attorneys elected by lawyers and lay members appointed by the governor and all confirmed by the Iowa Senate," created by constitutional amendment in 1962.[2] The Commission members, who now serve concurrent terms after 2010 redistricting decision changed it from staggered terms, reviews the applications for judicial vacancies and forwards three finalists to the governor, who in turn chooses one to appoint to the state Supreme Court. Since Branstad's return to office, Iowans and state government officials have speculated about a number of factors, such as the new contemporaneous terms of commissioners, and "hypotheticals,"[2] like Branstad's election to a record-breaking sixth-term in 2014 and Supreme Court Justice and Iowa voters ousting Justice David Wiggins in the 2012 general election. If Wiggins loses his retention vote in November, Branstad, with the help of the State Judicial Nominating Commission, would appoint a replacement. If that occurs, there will be only three remaining justices on the panel not appointed by Branstad, and they will be up for retention vote in 2016. All three, including the Chief Justice Mark Cady, were involved in the unanimous 2009 same-sex marriage legalization ruling, for which displeased voters fired three Justices in 2010. If Wiggins and the three Justices leftover from the 2009 ruling are all voted off the bench, and Branstad is re-elected in 2014, he will "become the first governor in history to appoint the entire Iowa Supreme Court."[2]

Despite concerns that this possible outcome would give the governor unprecedented influence over the Supreme Court and threaten the nonpartisan credibility of the judicial, former Republican lawmaker and Branstad staffer asserted that "filtration process... really minimizes the potential danger of one governor appointing all the justices,” alluding to the State Judicial Nominating Commission's check on the governor's authority to exercise excessive bias in his appointments. “I think our merit selection system insulates the system from that concern or at least helps to assure that that should not be a cause for alarm,” agreed Iowa State Bar Association President Cynthia Moser, however Iowa State Bar Association officials point out the potential vulnerabilities facing the merit-based selection system. Since the commission's term structure changed, Branstad stands to appoint half of the panel's new members.[2]

Veto found unconstitutional

Polk District Court Judge Brad McCall ruled on December 8, 2011 that Branstad's line-item veto that closed 36 unemployment offices is unconstitutional. Branstad called the case a key test of gubernatorial authority and expressed confidence that the state Supreme Court would uphold the veto.

At a news conference On December 12, Branstad stated, "It's really more of a question of precedent and the power of the governor to control spending through the item veto process. This is an important case because it is going to determine for the future and for future governors their ability to control spending and provide the best and most efficient services to the people of Iowa."[3]

The case began in July 2011 when Branstad vetoed portions of a budget bill that would have prohibited closure of the offices. In taking the action, the governor stated that allowing the legislation to proceed would have hurt the ability of the Iowa Workforce Development Department from creating a more efficient system for helping the unemployed.[4]

The AFSCME and five state representatives filed suit in August, arguing the veto was unconstitutional as it redirected the money. Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal (D) stated, "You can't reject the purpose for the spending, but keep the money, which is exactly what he did."[3] The court agreed, stating the allocation would have to be vetoed as well in order for the action to be legal.[5]

Branstad said they are asking for a stay of the district court's decision, and will ask for an expedited review by the state Supreme Court.[6]

Lieutenant Governor, State of Iowa (1979-1983)

At the end of this third term in the state House, Branstad decided to run for executive office. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Iowa in 1978.[1]

Representative, Iowa State House of Representatives (1973-1979)

Branstad was first elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1972. He was subsequently re-elected in 1974 and 1976. [1]



See also: Iowa gubernatorial election, 2010 and Gubernatorial elections, 2010

Branstad defeated Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts in the June 8 primary, winning with 50.33% of the vote.

Branstad faced incumbent Chet Culver (D), Jonathan Narcisse (Iowa Party), Eric Cooper (L), and Dave Rosenfeld (SW) in the general election on November 2, 2010.

Campaign donors

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Terry Branstad's donors each year.[7] Click [show] for more information.


Early look at 2012 presidential election

In May 2011, Gov. Branstad offered heaping praise for U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan for his ideas to tackle the country’s mushrooming national debt.

“I have been very impressed with this young man,” Branstad said. “I think he has great courage. Nobody of either party has had the guts to stand up and say, ‘We need to take on entitlements’ … I think this is the first real effort to do something significant about it.”

Branstad sharply criticized Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, President Barack Obama and U.S. Senate Democrats for playing politics with the issue and attacking Ryan for his plan. Ryan's plan includes turning Medicare into a voucher program, rather than offering alternatives.[8]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Terry E. Branstad endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [9]


Terry and Chris Branstad have three grown children and four grandchildren.

See also

External links