DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday that he expects to appoint two new members to the Iowa Board of Regents in the next couple of weeks in response to the Iowa Senate's declining to confirm his nominees.
In April, the Senate didn't give the appointments of Craig Lang and Robert Cramer the two-thirds majority required for their approval to the nine-member board that oversees Iowa's three public universities and two special schools, including the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs.
At his weekly press conference, Branstad said he will begin interviews for the positions soon and hopes to make a decision “in the next couple of weeks.”
“I'm looking for people with backgrounds similar to the people that unfortunately the Senate did not confirm,” he said.
The appointments will be subject to confirmation when the Senate reconvenes in 2014.
Lang was appointed to the board in 2007 and had served as president since 2011.
The Brooklyn dairy farmer and former president of the Iowa Farm Bureau was criticized for supporting rules implemented by Iowa State University President Steven Leath that would have limited the ability of a proposed institute in honor of Sen. Tom Harkin to research agriculture.
Harkin withdrew plans to donate his papers to ISU, blaming “partisans on the Board of Regents” for meddling. The institute will instead be at Drake University in Des Moines.
Senators also took issue with Lang's criticism of University of Iowa President Sally Mason. Lang received 30 votes in the Senate, short of the 34 required.
Cramer, who owns a bridge construction company in Grimes, was questioned about his conservative social views on issues such as stem cell research, gay rights and academic freedom.
Some lawmakers questioned whether those positions could compromise the academic values of the public universities. Cramer got 27 votes in the Senate.
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