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Legislators elect four U of M regents; two veterans, two rookies

Despite some concerns about university policies, incumbents Linda Cohen and Dean Johnson were re-elected, and Abdul Omari and Peggy Lucas were elected to their first terms.

Minnesota legislators on Wednesday re-elected Linda Cohen and Dean Johnson to six-year-terms as University of Minnesota regents, and elected Abdul Omari and Peggy Lucas to their first terms on the governing board.

Omari was elected to the at-large position reserved for university students. He is a third-year doctoral student studying international and comparative development education at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

He and Lucas replace Maureen Ramirez and Venora Hung on the 12-member Board of Regents.

The four were elected with majorities during first rounds of voting by a joint session of the state House and Senate; the four chosen had been recommending by a joint Higher Education committee.

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Some legislators, though, have had concerns about tuition costs and a series of paid leaves for administrators in the past.

Rep. Kim Norton, a DFLer from Rochester, didn’t support either incumbent and told the Star Tribune afterwards: “Given all that has happened in the last year or so … management needs to change.”