Iowa State University

Once an unlikely candidate, Iowa's governor embraces new job

As a onetime county office worker in rural Iowa, Republican Kim Reynolds insists she never saw herself running for office, much less serving as governor.

But after a mid-career political surge and the appointment of mentor Terry Branstad as U.S. ambassador to China, the former legislator and lieutenant governor acknowledges growing more comfortable with her ascent Wednesday to the state's top job.

In fact, she was even somewhat envious watching Branstad sign landmark legislation in the just-ended session, the first in nearly 20 years in which Republicans controlled the House, Senate and governor's office.

"I was kind of hoping, as we watched the bills go back and...