US Senate on Monday voted 82-13 to approve Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to be the new US Ambassador to China.

In a statement after the confirmation, Branstad said he looks forward to working with leaders of both countries for the mutual benefit and the rest of the world, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that a boy from a small farm in Leland, Iowa, would one day have the opportunity to represent my country and my state on the world stage, working closely with one of the world’s most influential countries and one of America’s largest trading partners,” he said.

Branstad, 70, is the longest-serving Governor in the US. He has nurtured a close relationship with China and has visited China multiple times.

He served as the Governor of Iowa in 1983-1999, and again since 2011. He was nominated by US President Donald Trump to be the next US Ambassador to China in December 2016.

During his confirmation hearing earlier this month, Branstad said, if confirmed, he would work to “positively influence” the US-China relationship.

“As Governor of Iowa, I saw first-hand the importance of a positive and healthy trade relationship between our two countries,” Branstad said.

Calling US-China relationship “multi-faceted”, Branstad also noted that the two countries must work together on major security issues, including the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and cybersecurity.