- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - State legislators have filled five spots on the University of Minnesota’s governing board, electing three people with previous experience and two newcomers.

A gathering of House and Senate lawmakers on Wednesday voted in the five to join seven others on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents, which sets high-level policy at the school and oversees its president.

Those with previous board credentials are the group’s current chair, a former student who last served in the 1990s and a recently retired doctor who won a rare third term.

“We’ll all work together to help the new group,” said Board Chair Rick Beeson. Beeson, an executive vice president at Sunrise Banks, represents Minnesota’s 4th Congressional District on the board. He was the only candidate to go unchallenged Wednesday night.

The race for the state’s 3rd Congressional District was much tighter. Attorney Darrin Rosha barely edged out former U.S. Rep. Bill Luther. He replaces a regent who died and will finish the last two years of a six-year term.

Neither Rosha nor Luther came into the election with the blessing of House and Senate higher education committee members, who anointed other candidates last month.

Rosha sat on the board from 1989 to 1995. He was a student when first elected and said that experience will serve him well.

Patricia Simmons, who represents Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District on the board, won a third term. The recently retired Mayo Clinic doctor has said she only entered the race because another female candidate connected to the hospital dropped out.

Rounding out the winners were Michael Hsu, the president of a golf reservation company, in the 6th District and longtime funeral home director Tom Anderson in the 7th.

Past public interviews with lawmakers revealed a desire from many of the winners to further commercialize the school’s research and drive down the cost of a degree. Some faculty members expressed concern that the candidates said little about including them in decision-making.

Professor Tim Brennan joined other faculty outside the House chamber Wednesday night. He said faculty should hold three seats on the 12-member board.

“We are the university. That’s why people come,” Brennan said. “There’s no school without us.”

The university’s regents are unpaid. Eight represent each of Minnesota’s congressional districts and four serve the state at large.

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