3 named to vie for U regent seat Sviggum vacated

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 2, 2012 - 8:39 PM

All were candidates when Sviggum was chosen.

Three people have been named as possible candidates for the spot Steve Sviggum left 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.

Robert Vogel, of Elko New Market, president and chief executive officer of New Market Bank.

At a Tuesday meeting, the Joint House and Senate Committee on Higher Education is set to nominate one candidate for the seat, which represents the Second Congressional District. A final vote could come Wednesday.

To those who followed 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 willing, Valleau wrote in an e-mail.

After last year's vote, Devine, a Republican and longtime U volunteer, criticized the Legislature's decision to give regent seats to two former legislators -- Sviggum and Laura Brod.

Sviggum resigned from his unpaid seat on the U's governing board in March after regents determined that his paid job with the state Senate created at least the perception of an unmanageable conflict of interest.

Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168

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