DES MOINES — Gov. Terry Branstad picked a former state lawmaker and the president of an asphalt company for spots on the board that oversees the state’s three public universities.
Larry McKibben, the former state senator, and Aspro President Milt Dikovich were appointed Tuesday to the Iowa Board of Regents and are expected to take their seats at today’s meeting at the University of Iowa.
They fill spots left open after the Iowa Senate rejected two of the governor’s three nominees for the board early this year. McKibben and Dikovich also are subject to Senate confirmation during the 2014 legislative session but will serve as members of the seven-member board at least until then.
“I have chosen two passionate public servants who will help guide our Regents institutions through the next six years,” Branstad said in a news release announcing his picks. “Larry’s legislative expertise and Milt’s construction background will provide both of them with the knowledge and experience needed for these two seats on the board.”
McKibben, 66, of Marshalltown, is an attorney and graduate of the University of Iowa Law School and the University of Northern Iowa. He served in the Iowa Senate from 1997 to 2008 where he secured a spot as an assistant minority leader.
He lost a Republican primary in 2012 to Jane Jech, who, in turn, lost in the general election to Democratic Sen. Steve Sodders of State Center for the 22nd District.
Sodders’ colleague, Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, released a statement on behalf of Senate Democrats Tuesday promising “due diligence” would be done.
“We will look carefully at the qualifications of these two appointees, including their support for the core values of academic freedom and equality of opportunity and their support for providing the resources needed to maintain the high quality of our outstanding public universities and special schools,” he said.
Dikovich, 58, is president of Aspro Inc., a construction company that operates two asphalt plants in the Waterloo area and conducts contract work.
He previously served as president of both the Associated General Contractors of Iowa and the Asphalt Paving Association of Iowa.
He’s a graduate of Iowa State University, where, he told Radio Iowa, he was one of the people who served as the school mascot, Cy.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement member Ross Grooters of Pleasant Hill said the group has “real concerns” about the appointments of McKibben and Dikovich, whom he characterized as “corporate and political insiders.”
The group has been critical of Branstad’s appointees in the past and has called for the resignation of Regents Vice President Bruce Rastetter.
In addition to McKibben and Dikovich, today’s meeting is the first for Subhash Sahai, who was confirmed for a spot earlier this year. Board members are expected to elect a board president at the meeting.