One of Governor Culver’s picks for the board that governs Iowa, Iowa State and UNI says the future success of the three public universities depends on openness and honesty. Iowa Farm Bureau president Craig Lang, one of the nominees for the Board of Regents, says his goal will be to convince Iowans the work of those schools is worthwhile.
Lang said he’s like to see the Board of Regents hold meetings around the state to get public input about the universities. Plus, Lang says the Board of Regents should appear before the legislature once a year so "there’s nothing undiscovered." While Lang says he hopes people will be more willing to "pay more" to the universities, Lang says he’s not talking about raising tuition.
Lang says he hopes lawmakers and Iowans will agree the state dedicate more taxpayer dollars to the universities. Lang has resigned his seats on several other boards and commissions to avoid a conflict of interest and asked whether Farm Bureau’s ties to Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield would conflict with overseeing the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
"I don’t see a conflict…our partnership with Wellmark Blue Cross…is a total hands-off approach and I’m not part of that except to see that our members get the best possible product from Wellmark," Lang says. Lang is one of four people Governor Culver has nominated to serve on the Board of Regents. Each must get a "yes" vote from 34 of the 50 state senators in order to take the job and Lang testified yesterday before the Senate Education Committee.
"There are three priorities right now: my family, the state of Iowa, the Board of Regents and Farm Bureau," Lang told lawmakers. "I intend to make those top priorities." The Board of Regents has been under fire for failing to choose a new president for the University of Iowa.
Lang pledges to work in a "bipartisan" fashion to solve those and other problems on the campuses. "To make sure that we’re making the best decisions for the student and their parents," Lang says. "That also includes the teachers; that includes everyone in Iowa."