Two physicians, a funeral director, a farmer and a former Best Buy executive are among the 10 finalists competing for five openings on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.
The candidates were selected Thursday by a legislative advisory council from a field of 34 applicants, including two former lawmakers who did not make the final cut: former U.S. Rep. Bill Luther, a Democrat, and former Minnesota Rep. Morrie Lanning, a Republican.
It's now up to a Joint Legislative Committee to select one candidate for each open seat and forward their names to the full Legislature for confirmation. At least four of the board's 12 seats will be filled by newcomers. Only one incumbent, Board Chair Richard Beeson, is seeking another six-year term.
The finalists, who represent five of Minnesota's congressional districts, are:
First District: Dr. Claire Bender, who retired in December as a physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and Randy Simonson, CEO and president of Grazix Animal Health in Worthington. The winner will replace Dr. Patricia Simmons, another Mayo physician, who is stepping down after two terms.
Third District: Dr. Michael Belzer, of Edina, chief medical officer of Hennepin County Medical Center, and Paula Prahl, of Long Lake, former senior vice president for communications at Best Buy. The winning candidate will fill out the remaining two-year term of Regent David Larson, who died in October.
Fourth District: Richard Beeson Jr., a St. Paul banker who has served on the Board of Regents since 2009, and Thomas Sorel, of Woodbury, former state transportation commissioner.
Sixth District: Michael Hsu, of Blaine, president of TeeMaster Corp., and Steven Laraway, of St. Cloud, president and CEO of Laraway Financial Advisors. The winner will succeed John Frobenius of St. Cloud, who has served on the board since 2003.
Seventh District: Thomas Anderson, of Alexandria, who was director of Anderson Funeral Home for 33 years, and Michael Yost, owner of Yost Farm in Murdock and former Foreign Agriculture Service administrator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Regent Clyde Allen of Moorhead is stepping down after 12 years on the board.
The finalists were selected after a round of interviews by the Regent Candidate Advisory Council.