Legislature to pick a UMN regent this evening

L-R: Vogel, Smith, Devine

Last night I filed some quick spots on the radio on how the House-Senate joint legislative committee on higher education deadlocked and could not recommend a candidate to replace former University of Minnesota regent Steve Sviggum.

The full legislature is scheduled to pick a regent starting around 6 p.m. I’ll try to tweet the proceedings at @MPRAFriedrich.

Here’s what happened last night:

Neither Thomas Devine of Chanhassen nor Robert Vogel of Elko New Market received a majority vote in both chambers. Devine won the vote of House members by a wide margin (something like 11-2, but I need to recheck), but Vogel had slightly more Senate votes (7-6, I believe).

The regent’s slot is located in the 2nd Congressional District.

In an interesting turn, before the vote, Republican Sen. Claire Robling of Jordan expressed concern over Devine’s residence. She said redistricting will place Devine in another district.

“Think about how you would feel if we were electing your congressional member, and you knew that information now. I’m looking for somebody to continue to be in my Second Congressional District.”

Regent Laura Brod of the 2nd District faces a similar situation, Robling said, so the 2nd could be left without any representation for the next 4.5 years or so.

But Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said redistricting shouldn’t pose a problem — and the idea of a district without representation is far fetched.

“Because when you are elected as a regent, you’re actually told during orientation that you actually have to leave a lot of your parochial interests behind — and think about the university, and think about the whole state.”

Candidate Kelly Smith, the superintendent of the Belle Plaine school district, didn’t make the first cut.