Minnesota Report

This evening there is a joint DFL caucus with the House and Senate and the topic of discussion is the selection of the four University of Minnesota Regents. The current seats are for the Student Regent, the 5th Congressional District seat and the two At-Large seats. During the joint hearing of the two higher education committees, the DFL and Republicans reached a decision on the Student Seat, the 5th CD seat and one of the at-large seats, but not all of those decisions are expected to hold.

There are a number of side issues in play we are hearing the issue of a recapturing of the Labor Seat echo in the hallways of the legislature, and former Congressman Bill Luther (DFL) is carrying that mantel. We are hearing rumors of candidate discussing positioning themselves as Pro-Life with Republicans and Pro-Choice with DFL legislators. We understand there is a building of support for Janie Mayeron for members with ties to the Jewish community, which is interesting in light of the current controversy for Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (DFL-MN05). The main question we are following is what is the split going to be for those who align with the Posse Comitatus in the House, which is a far more progressive element.

One of the greatest issues’ legislators are addressing is gender. Right now, only two of the board members are women and one of those women incumbent Regent Peggy Lucas who is continuing to fight hard to retain her seat. Her challenger Adul Omari has withdrawn his opposition and is now only seats one of the At-Large seats.

The way things stood coming out of the joint Higher Education committees meeting had Mike Kenyanya recommended for the Student Seat and Mary Davenport with strong first-ballot majorities Mayyeron with a bare majority and both Kao Ly Ilean Her and Sandy Wiese advancing without recommendation. We think Her will prevail because she had the bulk to DFL support in spite of Omari’s change in direction.

Whatever the collective DFL mind decides has the likelihood of passing on the floor, because DFL holds the majority in a joint legislative session.

One interesting note is the highest vote recipients were the high vote totals from both the Regents Candidate Advisory Council and the Joint Higher Education Committees.