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Guess who's coming to dinner? Scott County GOP announces keynote speaker for gala
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Guess who's coming to dinner? Scott County GOP announces keynote speaker for gala

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Terry Branstad, former longtime Iowa governor and departing U.S. ambassador to China, will headline this year's Scott County Republican Party annual gala.

Branstad — who will return to Iowa on Saturday and will help campaign for Republicans in the state, including President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst — will be the keynote speaker at the Scott County Republican's 12th Annual Ronald Reagan Dinner on Oct. 13 at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, the county party announced Tuesday.

"As an ambassador to China, as well as being former State of Iowa Governor, I am sure that our guests will look forward to hearing about his leadership experience," Scott County Republicans Chairman Dave Millage said in a press release.

Earlier this month, Branstad announced he was stepping down as U.S. ambassador to China, ending a three-year tenure marked by a trade war and increasingly bitter relations between the world's two largest economies.

The 73-year-old was appointed by Trump in 2017 in part because of his status as "an old friend" of Chinese President Xi Jinping, dating back to when the then county-level Communist Party official visited Iowa on a 1985 trade trip.

But Branstad's departure comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and China on several fronts.

Branstad on Tuesday defended a tough approach to China that has riled relations between the world's two largest economies, saying the Trump administration has made progress on trade and that he hopes that will extend to other areas, the Associated Press reported.

Doors to the Scott County Republicans gala open at 5 p.m. for cocktails and a silent auction, followed by the dinner at 6 p.m. Cost is $70 per person, and tickets may be purchased online at www.scottcountyrepublicans.org, by emailing republicanssc@gmail.com or by contacting the Scott County Republicans office at 563-823-5854.

Invitations to the event also include Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, and Iowa U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, along local Republican state lawmakers and local elected Republican officials and candidates.

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