Board of Regents Selection:
As is custom, Tuesday night a joint hearing of the Senate andHouse Higher Education committees was held to give recommendationsfor the Board of Regents candidates. My counterpart in the House,
Representative Gene Pelowski Jr.
, and I co-chaired this hearing, whichturned out to be a greater challenge than anticipated. This was evident from the outset. The first group of candidates that came before the joint committee was vying for the spot representing the 5
CongressionalDistrict. It is customary for the joint committee to accept therecommendation of the 5
district members, who had met the previousweek and selected Peggy Lucas; there was not consensus regarding thischoice. For much of the time there was a tie between Dennis Nguyenand Peggy Lucas. There was debate among the committee members; infact, it took five rounds of roll call votes before we finally put forth Ms.Lucas. In addition to Peggy Lucas, the joint committee recommendedAbdul Omari for the student Regent position, as well as Dean Johnsonand Linda Cohen for the two at-large positions, all extremely qualifiedcandidates as were all the candidates put forward by the RegentsCouncil Advisory Committee. The next step in this winding process is forthe full House and Senate bodies to meet and officially select thecandidates who will join the Board of Regents, the governing board forthe University of Minnesota. This meeting will be held next Wednesday,March 6
. I will let you know how it turns out in next week’s CapitolUpdate. If it goes anything like our joint hearing, expect some surprises.
Wednesday night concluded the first round of Town Hall meetingsthat I participated in for 2013. I was joined by Representative JohnBenson as we provided updates from St. Paul and addressed commentsand concerns from the near 50 attendees. Thank you to all who came.The conversation ranged from gun control to invasive species, and whilethere may have been differences of opinion (sometimes extremeopposite viewpoints), I appreciate the respectful tone that prevailed.Even though we didn’t agree on everything, I noticed many commonthemes from both town hall gatherings. Chief among these themes wasthe opposition to Governor Dayton’s proposed business-to-business tax.I heard from many business owners and service industry professionals