Republicans would dominate on the Iowa Board of Regents if three new nominees are confirmed, and one Senate Democrat says Governor Branstad is not following the intent of the law with the appointments.
The governor nominated Vermeer executive Mary Andringa, Des Moines community volunteer Patty Cownie, and UNI student Rachel Johnson.
Coralville Democrat Bob Dvorsky says with the appointments the nine-member board will include five Republicans, two Democrats, and two Independents.
“And I’m sorry the governor chose to do that,” Dvorsky says. “It’s within his purview under the law.”
The law says no more than half of a board plus one should belong to the same political party. Dvorsky says the law was meant to have the political affiliations of boards and commission reflect the general population.
A spokesman for the governor praised the nominees and said the appointments follow Iowa law.
The three nominees were vetted today by the Senate Education Committee. Dvorsky tells the nominees it’s unfortunate the governor didn’t try to even out the makeup of the board.
“Unfortunately that’s the situation and you’ll have to deal with it,” Dvorsky says. “Thank you for agreeing to serve.”
Mary Andringa said education is a bipartisan issue.
“So I would hope that no matter what party affiliation,” Andringa says, “we’re focused on what’s best for our institutions and for the state.”
Senate Education Committee Chairman Herman Quirmbach says he expects the nominees to be confirmed.