Three people have been named as possible candidates for Steve Sviggum's spot on the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents.
They are: Thomas Devine, of Chanhassen, an executive at the David Agency, an Edina insurance agency; Kelly Smith, of Belle Plaine, superintendent of the Belle Plaine school district; and Robert Vogel, of Elko New Market, president of New Market Bank.
The Joint House and Senate Committee on Higher Education is set to recommend a candidate at a Tuesday meeting.
To those following the last regent selection process, these are familiar names.
"We contacted the candidates who were selected by the [Regent Candidate Advisory Council] for final interviews last year and asked if they were willing to interview with the joint committee," said Mike Valleau, the House higher ed committee's administrator.
Devine, Smith and Vogel were the three willing, Valleau wrote in an e-mail.
"While no one will be officially nominated until Tuesday," he said, "these are the candidates we expect to be nominated and be available for interviews."
Sviggum resigned from his unpaid seat on the U's governing board in March after regents determined that his job with the state Senate created at least the perception of a conflict of interest.
Devine had gotten support from DFL legislators during the last process. After the election, he was critical of the Legislature voting in their former co-workers.
Here's what I wrote at that time:
A lifelong volunteer for the U, Devine decided to run for a regent seat in part because after the November election, he thought he might have a chance as a lifelong Republican.
After learning that Brod and Sviggum were candidates, he said, "I knew I had obviously a lot to do to get my name beyond the household recognition."
So the insurance executive and Chanhassen resident spent hours at the Capitol each day. He attended every session of the House and Senate higher education committees. He met with 115 legislators.
"I felt my candidacy had become legitimate," Devine said, something several legislators confirm.
In the end, he felt the fix was in for Sviggum and Brod. He called that "a loss for the process" and worries that it will encourage the election of more ex-lawmakers.