Senate committee confirms higher ed commissioner, Anderson replaces Skoe

Not a huge discussion day for the Senate higher education committee.

First off, it unanimously confirmed Sheila Wright, director of the state Office of Higher Education.

Before she was confirmed, Wright played up her small-town roots. She told committee members that when people ask what her hometown is, she usually says:

I come from I-95 and Stuckey’s.

The Office of Higher Ed has already presented its take on Gov. Dayton’s higher-ed budget to the House committee, and did the same to the Senate today. During budget talks, Wright told the senators:

“We’re at the point of hypothermia, where we have to draw from extremities to protect the core. (If we took more cuts) we’d be talking about amputating the extremities. “

And almost echoing one of her House counterparts, Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) voiced concern over the cutting of the $934,000 United Family Practice Program, which is designed to alleviate the shortage of family practice physicians by financially supporting medical residents training in that area:

“It’s unfair to them because (the budget) is not targeting other (similar) programs.”

Also, Ellen R. Anderson (DFL-St. Paul) replaced Rod Skoe (DFL-Clearbrook) on the committee.