MARION — It’s not the legacy, but the opportunity, Gov. Terry Branstad said about his bid for an unprecedented sixth term that would secure his place in history as the nation’s longest-serving governor.
“More important is the opportunity to serve the people of Iowa and accomplish more things,” the Des Moines Republican said Thursday after leading a rally featuring GOP candidates for state and federal office. It was part of the Branstad campaign’s 14-city tour that included a rally with about 60 people at Pate Asphalt Systems in Marion.
“I came back to lead a comeback,” a turnaround from “facing economic disaster in this state with growing deficits and debt and high unemployment,” said Branstad, who served four terms before leaving public office to serve as president of Des Moines University.
“We’ve turned that around,” Branstad told the crowd, ticking off a list of accomplishments that included the largest tax cut in state history, major education reforms that will provide more money and opportunity for schools and teachers and a health and wellness program to encourage Iowans to take responsibility and ownership of their health.
Fiscally, he said, under his administration the state has filled the cash reserve and economic emergency fund. Unemployment is down, and a record number of Iowans are employed.
“But we’re not done,” Branstad said. “There’s a lot more that I want to do in terms of creating more jobs and working with (Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds) on STEM education. That’s really important today to train young people today for the jobs of tomorrow.”
STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and math.
“So the more important thing, the reason why I am running again is what we can accomplish in the next four years,” Branstad said.
Branstad introduced the Republican “team” of candidates including his host, Paul Pate, a former Cedar Rapids mayor and state senator, who is running for Iowa Secretary of State, a position he held from 1995-99, Reynolds, U.S. Senate candidate state Sen. Joni Ernst, 1st District candidate Rod Blum, state Auditor Mary Mosiman, attorney general candidate Adam Gregg and legislative candidates.