Gov. Branstad pens letter of support for his nominees to the Board of Regents PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tim Albrecht   
Thursday, 28 March 2013 12:59

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Branstad today penned a letter and had it delivered to all 50 members of the Iowa Senate, expressing support for his nominees to the Board of Regents.

 

In the letter, the governor notes that Craig Lang “successfully restored critical funding for our Regents system over the last two budget cycles and ended a period of annual reductions in state general fund support for the university system.”

 

Further, the governor highlighted that Craig Lang “restored university budgets to a position of predictability and stability such that, for the first time in 30 years, the Regents will likely approve a tuition freeze for the next school year.”

 

On Robert Cramer, the governor said, “Over the next 5 years, the Board will be considering $1.35 billion in construction projects. Given this aggressive future construction plan, he is uniquely qualified to serve on the Board of Regents. He has worked in the construction industry his entire career and he brings long-term and real-world construction experience to this position. For over 20 years he has worked to determine whether construction projects are financially viable for the company to participate.  The experience will assist the board in maximizing construction dollars.”

 

On Dr. Subhash Sahai, the governor wrote, “In particular, as a practicing physician, Dr. Sahai will bring a much-needed perspective to the Board’s oversight role in regards to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC).”

 

“These three individuals each have a unique and compelling set of qualities that fully qualify them to serve on the Board of Regents, they have my full and unwavering support, and I respectfully ask you to support each of their confirmations before the Iowa Senate,” the governor continued. “If you have any question or concern regarding any of these three nominees, I extend to you an invitation to meet with me and discuss this personally.  I am committed to making the time available to answer your questions and attempt to alleviate any concerns.”

 

The full text is below:

 

March 26, 2013

 

The Honorable Senator Michael Gronstal

Iowa Senate

Iowa State Capitol Building

Des Moines, IA 50319

 

Dear Senator Gronstal:

 

As Iowa’s Governor I take seriously my role in selecting individuals for service on the numerous boards and commissions that serve the citizens of Iowa.  And as a former legislator and President of the Senate, I have great respect for the General Assembly’s oversight role, generally, and the Senate’s role, specifically, in the confirmation process.

 

There has been much recent discussion regarding the individuals I put forward to serve on the Board of Regents and I write today to support the confirmations of Craig Lang, Robert Cramer, and Subhash Sahai and to share with you my reasoning for bringing these talented individuals forward.

 

Craig Lang

 

Originally appointed to the Board of Regents by Governor Culver, I have found Craig Lang to be a leader of uncommon character who has been willing to pursue the difficult policy decisions necessary to make our Regents institutions among the best in the nation.

 

Amongst many accomplishments, I point to the following as ample evidence to Craig’s commitment to our universities, their faculties, and the students they serve:

 

  • Successfully restored critical funding for our Regents system over the last two budget cycles and ended a period of annual reductions in state general fund support for the university system.
  • Restored university budgets to a position of predictability and stability such that, for the first time in 30 years, the Regents will likely approve a tuition freeze for the next school year.
  • Embarked on an effort to recognize the unique funding challenges faced by the University of Northern Iowa and helped secure additional resources and supported needed structural changes that will significantly improve the long term viability of UNI’s financial foundation.
  • Spearheaded a transparency effort and created a transparency taskforce to shed much greater light on the management of our state universities and provide Iowans greater access to those leading our institutions.
  • Successfully led the process through which two new outstanding university presidents were hired with little or no controversy and with an unprecedented level of transparency.
  • Developed a plan to gradually eliminate the controversial tuition set aside practice whereby a portion of Iowa student’s tuition payments are being used to fund scholarships for other students.

 

While some former members of the Board of Regents have talked about the need to make many of these changes, it was Craig Lang who has used his position as President of the Board to actually make these things happen.

 

Leaders lead--and Craig Lang is a leader.

 

Unfortunately, leadership also often comes with a price and much of the criticism Craig has faced during his confirmation process is the direct result of his willingness to make tough choices in pursuit of these numerous positive outcomes.

 

I believe Craig Lang has earned another term on the Board of Regents and hope you will judge his confirmation based on the body of outstanding work he has done to improve our regents institutions.

 

Robert Cramer

 

Robert Cramer is well known among his peers as a collaborative problem solver who brings to the Board of Regents much needed skills from his career in the construction industry and his leadership of the highly respected Associated General Contractors of Iowa (AGC Iowa).

 

Here are just a few of the reasons I believe Robert Cramer is the right choice to serve on the Board of Regents at this time:

 

  • Over the next 5 years, the Board will be considering $1.35 billion in construction projects.
  • Given this aggressive future construction plan, he is uniquely qualified to serve on the Board of Regents.

o   Construction company owner:  He has worked in the construction industry his entire career and he brings long-term and real-world construction experience to this position.

o   For over 20 years he has worked to determine whether construction projects are financially viable for the company to participate.  The experience will assist the board in maximizing construction dollars.

o   He is a licensed engineer and a graduate of ISU’s Engineering School (Construction Engineering).

  • Robert has a long history of volunteering in the construction industry by mentoring students.

o   He served on the Industry Advisory Council for the Construction Engineering School at ISU.

o   He has been a guest speaker for engineering classes and student organizations.

o   He has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Northern Iowa.  For the past two years, he has talked to students in the construction management program about the process of building bridges in Iowa.

  • He has continued to spend much of his volunteer time assisting AGC Iowa in furthering the goals of that 91 year-old association.  He served on the board of AGC 9 years and the executive committee for five years and as the President in 2010.  He is currently Vice-Chairman of the Business Practices Committee which advises the DOT on practical construction solutions that saves taxpayers money.  He remains today as the liaison from AGC to the DOT for improving worker training and recruiting women and minorities to the industry.

In addition to his experience in business and industry, Robert and his wife also personally practice a generosity towards children that changes lives.  He and Lori have provided a much-needed foster home for 16 children over the last four years (some who have come to them with drug addictions)—providing these children with love, safety, security, and support in a very personal effort to give these children a fighting chance to succeed.

 

When I first interviewed Robert, I was struck by his compassion and competence and quickly concluded he would be an outstanding asset on the Board of Regents.

 

The attacks on Mr. Cramer over the last weeks are an unwelcome effort by some to attach an ideological litmus test to the confirmation process that I find more than troublesome.  Our boards and commissions should be populated by individuals with a diversity of backgrounds and beliefs.  Certain beliefs should in no way disqualify an otherwise highly gifted individual from serving on the Board of Regents simply because those beliefs are not shared by particular Senators.

 

Subhash Sahai

 

Dr. Subhash Sahai is a highly respected physician from Webster City who received his medical education at the University of Iowa and has been in private practice since 1976.  I have personally known Dr. Sahai and his family for many years and am certain he will be a productive member of the Board of Regents.

 

In particular, as a practicing physician, Dr. Sahai will bring a much-needed perspective to the Board’s oversight role in regards to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC).

 

Here are some of the many qualities Dr. Sahai will bring to the Board of Regents:

  • Subhash Sahai emigrated from India to this country in 1967 and Iowa has been his home for the last 40 years.
  • Dr. Sahai has attended all three of our Regents universities and received degrees from two of them (Masters in Biology from the University of Northern Iowa and M.D. from the University of Iowa).
  • He served 14 years on the Webster City School Board.
  • He also served in the Iowa Air National Guard for 14 years.
  • Dr. Sahai currently serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Iowa, Family Practice Department and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences.
  • His wife and all three of his children are all physicians.

As you can readily see, Dr. Sahai is an exceptional Iowan who will bring significant assets to the Board of Regents and it is my hope he will receive your enthusiastic support with regards to his upcoming confirmation.

 

These three individuals each have a unique and compelling set of qualities that fully qualify them to serve on the Board of Regents, they have my full and unwavering support, and I respectfully ask you to support each of their confirmations before the Iowa Senate.

 

If you have any question or concern regarding any of these three nominees, I extend to you an invitation to meet with me and discuss this personally.  I am committed to making the time available to answer your questions and attempt to alleviate any concerns.

 

If you desire such a meeting, please contact Adam Gregg from my office to schedule a time.

Craig Lang, Robert Cramer, and Subhash Sahai are highly respected Iowans--each with their own unique connections to our Regents institutions and unique skill sets that will assist in our collective governance of the Regents system—and I ask you to support each in their efforts to be confirmed by the Senate for a term of service on our Board of Regents.

Thank you.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Terry E. Branstad

Governor of Iowa

 

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