Sunday, December 21, 2014

Democrat a surprise pick for regents

8/1/2014

He wasn’t expecting the call, Bill Feuerborn said, but he definitely was interested.

Gov. Sam Brownback announced Friday the appointments of three members to the state board of regents. Feuerborn, D-Garnett, a former state representative covering a portion of Franklin County, was among those selected.

He wasn’t expecting the call, Bill Feuerborn said, but he definitely was interested.

Gov. Sam Brownback announced Friday the appointments of three members to the state board of regents. Feuerborn, D-Garnett, a former state representative covering a portion of Franklin County, was among those selected.

Along with Feuerborn, Brownback also appointed Joseph Bain, Goodland, and Zoe Forrester Newton, Sedan, who each are expected to serve a four-year term, expiring June 30, 2018.

“Our state’s colleges and universities help educate and prepare students to enter the work force, and the regents play an important role in overseeing this process,” Brownback said. “Joseph, Bill, and Zoe all bring considerable talent and experience to the board, and I am pleased that they’ve agreed to serve the people of Kansas in this capacity.”

The nine-member Kansas Board of Regents is appointed by the governor. It is the governing board of the six state universities and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions (seven public universities, 19 community colleges, and six technical colleges).

Feuerborn spent 18 years serving in the Kansas Legislature, he said, but lost a re-election bid in 2012 to current state Rep. Kevin Jones, R-Wellsville. Feuerborn has spent that past two years raising cattle and spending time with his grandchildren, he said, but he is excited to join the board of regents and begin a new chapter.

In the Legislature, Feuerborn served on the higher education funding committee, he said. But the board of regents covers all facets of higher education, which intrigues Feuerborn, he said.

“I’m excited for the new learning process,” he said.

Although the veteran Democratic lawmaker was appointed by the state’s Republican governor, Feuerborn dismissed any speculation he and Brownback share many political views. He said the nine-member board can only include of five members from the majority party; now consisting of two unaffiliated members, two Democrats and five Republicans.

“It’s really a nonpartisan type board, so your politics don’t really come into factor. I look forward to that,” Feuerborn said.

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