Early this morning, Bluestem posted in Rough stuff: Sviggum and Brod nominated to U of M Regents board, vote today:
Family farmers and unions are likely to lose voices on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents today when the legislature votes to approve nominations.
Former Minnesota House speaker Steve Sviggum is nominated to replace Helena Township farmer Dallas Bohnsack for the CD2 slot, while former state representative Laura Brod will slide into the at-large seat now held by AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Steve Hunter.
Sviggum and Brod are now Regents. The Minnesota AFL-CIO issued the following statement in Working Minnesotans Denied a Voice on University of Minnesota Board:
Leaders of the Minnesota AFL-CIO sharply criticized the Minnesota Legislature’s decision to keep a labor representative off the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. This decision breaks with decades of tradition of giving labor a voice on the University’s governing board.
“The campuses of the University of Minnesota play a key role in educating our state’s workforce and driving business innovation,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson. “It’s just plain wrong that working Minnesotans will no longer have a say in how the University is run.”
Current Minnesota AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Steve Hunter has served as an at-large Regent since his bipartisan appointment in 2005.
Previous union leaders on the board have included Minnesota AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer George Lawson, 1933-1959; Minnesota AFL-CIO Executive Vice-President Robert Hess, 1959 – 1967; Minnesota AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Neil Sherburne, 1969-1981; Minnesota AFL-CIO President David Roe, 1981-1993; and Minnesota AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Bill Peterson, who served from 1993 until his death in 2000.
Today, the GOP-controlled legislature voted to replace Hunter with former Republican Legislator Laura Brod. They also appointed former Republican House Speaker and Pawlenty administration official Steve Sviggum to the board.
“Republican leaders have decided to take the partisan low road and reward their political allies,” added Knutson. “The University of Minnesota Board of Regents governs a statewide campus system and should be representative of all who make our state work.”
Photo: Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson and and Secretary-Treasurer Steve Hunter. Photo via Workday Minnesota.