Legislators

Stacy Jo

William Hogan II, chairman of the Board of Regents, won the endorsement to keep his seat Tuesday night, rectifying an embarrassing upset on Monday when state legislators from his district passed him up for a lesser-known challenger.
Members from the House and Senate education committees interviewed nine candidates for four open positions on the University’s top governing body.
Frances Gardeski, the 10th candidate, withdrew her candidacy on Tuesday after receiving no votes in a district caucus endorsement.
Candidates for the regents seats lobbied state legislators, who will vote for the regents on Thursday. On Monday, legislators from the congressional districts with open seats endorsed their picks; Tuesday’s endorsement came from a larger group of legislators, and holds more weight.
“This would give you a very good idea of what will happen on Thursday,” explained Rep. Harry Mares, R-White Bear Lake, chairman of the joint committee endorsing candidates Tuesday.
Hogan lost the 3rd District endorsement on Monday, but Tuesday’s endorsement put him securely back in the race. Richard Clarke, also running for the 3rd District seat, received 12 votes to Hogan’s 44.
In his opening statement to legislators, Hogan spoke about his tenure on the board and thanked committee members for their generosity toward the University’s budget request last year.
“The president and the board are working very well,” Hogan said. “We are on the way to becoming a great university.”
Legislators asked Hogan and Clarke several questions about diversity at the University.
Clarke proposed aggressively increasing diversity by offering scholarships to students of color. Transferring control of the University’s General College to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is another step in improving diversity, he said.
Hogan said he disagreed with preferential scholarships for students of color, noting that it could put the University at risk for lawsuits.
“You’ve got to be color blind whether you’re black or white and that’s very challenging,” Hogan said.
Rep. Bob Ness, R-Dassel, asked Hogan about minority leadership within the current Board of Regents. Hogan noted that the 12-member board has only one member that is a minority — himself.
Legislators endorsed 2nd District candidate Dallas Bohnsack of New Prague over Rholan Larson of Buffalo by a vote of 42 to 12. Incumbent Julie Bleyhl was not a recommended candidate for the 2nd District. She could have retained her candidacy if a legislator nominated her at the joint meeting, but she was not nominated.
In the 8th District, Anthony Baraga of Side Lake received the committee’s endorsement over Fred Friedman of Cloquet by a vote of 48 to eight. Candidate Tom Renier, Duluth, received one vote.
Incumbent William Peterson received the endorsement for the at-large seat 35 to 16 over challenger David Johnson of Minneapolis on the second ballot.
The names of Hogan, Baraga, Peterson and Bohnsack will be forwarded to the full Legislature, which will make its final choices on Thursday.