Reynolds sworn in as Iowa’s 43rd governor

Maggie Curry

Terry Branstad, the longest serving governor in U.S. history, resigned Wednesday morning to be the next ambassador to China. Kim Reynolds, who was lieutenant governor under Branstad, was sworn in as governor following his resignation.

Reynolds, Iowa’s 43rd governor, is Iowa’s first female in the position, and said she plans to be a role model for those to follow – but she said she wants to be more than that.

“You know, I love this state and what it represents,” Reynolds said. “I’m a rural Iowa girl who grew up in a small community, was able to run for county office, to serve as a state senator and your lieutenant governor. And now, to serve as the governor of our state.”

Reynolds grew up in St. Charles, a population of 653 people in 2010. Her early career as a waitress and Hy-Vee check-out clerk is what she says taught her frugality. 

“In this state, we grew up learning the value of a dollar and not to waste it – a lesson I intend to apply every day as your governor,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds also said she learned as a state senator to work across party lines.

“Where I come from, party label didn’t matter nearly as much as getting the job done. I took that same approach with me to the Legislature, which means bringing people together to work for Iowans,” Reynolds said.

She also outlined four key priorities for her time as governor: reforming Iowa’s tax structure, innovating the energy policy, education for children and training for adults.

“For years, our fields have fed the world. Now, they energize it. They produce products that fuel cars and they host wind turbines that power our communities and businesses,” Reynolds said. “Those fields are filled with untapped potential. Our energy plan will help us continue to lead the way in wind energy and renewable fuels.”

Reynolds’ swearing-in comes just a day after the first federal budget proposal under President Trump and a just weeks after the state budget was passed by Branstad.

“Governor Reynolds’ swearing-in today comes at a critical time for Iowa. We’re facing budget shortfalls topping hundreds of millions, the quality of education in Iowa is threatened due to severely underfunded public schools and health care facilities are being shuttered,” the Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Derek Eadon said in a release. “While we sincerely hope Governor Reynolds is able to succeed in addressing these challenges, Iowans cannot ignore her role in creating them in the first place.”

Iowa’s first female senator, Joni Ernst, also a republican, has faith in Reynolds.

“Iowa will be in good hands under now Governor Reynolds, who has made history today as our first female governor. Her leadership on critical issues over the last seven years, and her work alongside Governor Branstad, has prepared her well for this new role,” Ernst said in a release.

Candidates have begun to present themselves to run against Reynolds in the 2018 gubernatorial election.