Ex-MN congressman’s voting record clouds bid for university job

Former Minnesota 6th District U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy’s voting record may come back to haunt him as he tries to get a new gig as president of the University of Colorado.

Kennedy has made some enemies in his current term as the president of the University of North Dakota, and this week Colorado gave him an avenue out of Grand Forks.

The Grand Forks Herald says he’d be one of the shortest-serving presidents in the history of UND.

Kennedy, the only finalist for the new job, told the paper it would be highly unusual if he isn’t confirmed for the position.

About that:

Lesley Smith, a Democrat and a regent at large for the University of Colorado tweeted that information “has come to light” about Kennedy.

That information appears to be Kennedy’s voting record while representing Minnesota in Congress, a record that shouldn’t have been much of a secret to the regents in the first place, but apparently was.

After Wednesday’s announcement that Kennedy was the lone finalist for university president, Colorado residents bombarded regents with complaints that Kennedy voted against same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose.

Regent Smith told the Boulder Daily Camera that Kennedy’s voting record never came up during a two-hour interview.

So why is it a possible deal-breaker now?

“I imagine that will be a question when he goes to forums, and I want to see how he responds and in return how the community responds to his responses,” Smith told the paper. “I want to make sure we have a fair process.”

“With our board, there was no question amongst the nine of us that he was right person for the job,” Board of Regents Chair Sue Sharkey, a Republican, said.

During his time in Congress, according to Sharkey, Kennedy demonstrated an ability to work across the aisle and reach bipartisan decisions, an interesting assertion if it turns out to be true that his voting record was never examined during the search process.

Kennedy’s electoral career ended when he lost a bid for Mark Dayton’s open Senate seat in 2006 to Amy Klobuchar.

  • Brian Simon

    “During his time in Congress, according to Sharkey, Kennedy demonstrated an ability to work across the aisle and reach bipartisan decisions”

    That’s not how I remember it; but perhaps I was only paying attention to his strict conservative orthodoxy on hot-button issues.

    • Jeff

      If I recall it was the Republican Gays, Guns, and Abortion Congress. I don’t think they did much else. Come to think of it that hasn’t changed much, except they added Immigrants.

    • RBHolb

      I remember him as being a good party-line man.

      He reminded me of the fictional 80s political icon Bob Forehead.

    • jon

      “work across the a the aisle”

      It wasn’t so much “The aisle” as “an Aisle” ..

  • MikeB

    Apparently they didn’t look too hard at his time at UND either.

    • Postal Customer

      Did they just do like UMN does and blow $240k on a consultant to choose the president?

      • MikeB

        A small price to avoid the “appearance of impropriety” accusations, even if a Good Ol’ Boy hire

  • Angry Jonny

    Ask the Engelstad’s how well Kennedy reaches “bipartisan” decisions.

    • ec99

      As I recall, Ralph didn’t get along with Kupchella. Which is generally given as the reason UND leases its “gift” for $2.5 million a year.

  • Gary F

    We are an equal opportunity employer.

    Except if you are a republican.

    Republicans aren’t wanted around here.

    • tarry_on

      Being a Republican has nothing to do with the EEO act.

    • RBHolb

      “By George, I think he’s got it!”

      Is there anyone in America with a greater litany of ongoing grievances than the modern conservative?

      • Jack Ungerleider

        For a group that defends the rights of the “rugged individualist” they seem to have a lot of individuals that they would rather not have any rights at all.