Iowa, state, United States: Modern Iowa

Modern Iowa

Much of Iowa's society may still resemble that depicted in the paintings of Grant Wood, an Iowan, but the state's industrial economy as well as other elements of modernization have altered this image. While on a visit to the United States in 1959, Nikita S. Khrushchev, then premier of the Soviet Union, was invited to a farm in Iowa to observe part of the U.S. farm economy. The volatile nature of agricultural prices combined with a steady decline in manufacturing has made Iowa susceptible to economic recession. This was especially true in the 1980s, when Iowa was second in the United States in outmigration with a 4.7% decline in population.

Terry Branstad, a Republican, is the state's longest-serving governor, serving from 1983-98 and then again from 2014-17, when he resigned to become ambassador to China. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, succeeded him and was elected governor in 2018, the first woman in the state's history to serve in this position, who has pursued a conservative agenda. While Republicans have controlled the governorship of late, Democrats Tom Vilsack (1997-2007) and Chet Culver (2007-11) had a 14-year run governing the state. Vilsack subsequently became Secretary of Agriculture during the Obama (2009-17) and Biden (2021- ) administrations.

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