Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is launching a new pro-business advocacy group that will push for “free markets and limited government” across the country, he announced Monday.
Branstad, the longest-serving governor in US history and a former US ambassador to China, will chair the new group, The American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce.
“America’s business owners and entrepreneurs are the backbone of this nation, and for too long their voices have not been well-represented in Washington,” Branstad, a Republican, said in a news release. “Our goal is to ensure that the interests of American businesses remain a top priority for our nation’s leaders while fighting for equal economic opportunity for every American.”
The group will be based in Iowa. The release said it will work to eliminate “outdated regulations and tax policies” that concern entrepreneurs and small and mid-sized businesses. Branstad’s experience as ambassador will help the group’s efforts in holding China “accountable to standards of fairness and reciprocity,” the release said.
Gentry Collins, who has previously served as executive director of the Iowa Republican Party and as the Republican National Committee’s political director, who will be the new group’s CEO.
Branstad served as Iowa’s governor from 1983 to 1999 and again from 2011 through May 2017, when he resigned to become the Trump administration’s ambassador to China. He stepped down from that role in October 2020.
In an emailed statement, Branstad said he wants to use his new role to “make the case to policy makers at all levels that we must move away from the trend toward socialism and back into a pro-business, pro-growth posture.”
Members of the group’s board are term-limited, and Branstad said he will not serve more than 10 years on the board.
The new group is the latest venture for the 75-year-old Branstad since his return to Iowa. Late last year, Branstad was named ambassador-in-residence at Drake University. And in December, he announced he was forming the Branstad Churchill Group, a consulting group focused on US-China relations, with his former chief of staff in Beijing, Steve Churchill.
Ian Richardson covers the Iowa Statehouse for the Des Moines Register. Reach him at email@example.com, at 515-284-8254, or on Twitter at @DMRIanR.