Former state Reps. Laura Brod and Steve Sviggum were among a slate of four candidates elected to six-year terms on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents by a joint meeting of the House and Senate on Monday afternoon. The other two spots were filled by current regent David Larson and business executive David McMillan.
Sviggum, a former GOP Speaker of the House from Kenyon, was appointed to a six-year term representing the Second Congressional District. Brod, who served four terms in the House representing New Prague, was initially a candidate for the same post as Sviggum. But the former GOP legislator ultimately received an at-large post, getting the nod over incumbent regent Steven Hunter, Secretary Treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO.
The slate was approved along largely partisan lines. Democrats charged that the process was tainted by partisan politics, particularly the appointment of Brod. House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, offered a motion to send recommendations back to a joint legislative committee, but it was rebuffed. “I am deeply concerned that the joint committee’s recommendations to pack the Board of Regents with partisans is just one more example of the new Republican majority putting party politics above what is best for Minnesota,” Thissen said.
House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, countered that the process was above board and should be respected. “We might not like who the committee forwarded to us, but it did go through the process,” Dean said.
The twelve-member body is charged with overseeing the University of Minnesota system.