Kevin Melicher, who was appointed to the State Board of Higher Education by former Governor Jack Dalrymple, was never perceived as a strong pick. He embarrassed himself in front of a state Senate committee reviewing his appointment, and that appointment was only narrowly approved by a vote of the full chamber after a lengthy debate.
The man has been described to me by lawmakers as a “lap dog” for North Dakota State University’s interests. Indeed Melicher has served as the official optometrist for the NDSU football team.
Melicher applied to be re-appointed to the SBHE (full list of applicants below) but was passed over by the committee which forwards recommendations for appointments on to the Governor.
The SBHE members serve four year terms. Melicher was at the end of his, as was fellow board member Mike Ness.
Ness didn’t re-apply.
So who did move forward? There were three recommendations for each open seat. Here’s the information I have from a trusted source. Governor Burgum will be given the recommendations tomorrow, apparently.
Some interesting names here, and nobody from Fargo as it happens. That’s interesting given gripes in the past that the Fargo area has been over represented on the Board.
Streyle is a current Republican state lawmaker from Minot, though he’s not running for re-election. He’s been an outspoken critic of the university system generally, and North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani specifically.
Becker, meanwhile, is also a current Republican lawmaker from Grand Forks (not to be confused with Rick Becker, a Republican lawmaker from Bismarck) and he is running for re-election.
I’m not sure how interested Governor Burgum is going to be in having a member of the State Board of Higher Education serving simultaneously in the Legislature.
More information about the finalists is in the list below.