Governor Chet Culver has decided not to reappoint a northwest Iowa woman who has served on the State Racing and Gaming Commission for a decade. Culver has instead selected a Des Moines woman who is part of the labor movement to serve as a state gambling regulator.
Phil Roeder, Culver’s deputy chief of staff, says the governor has decided it’s time for a change. “Whether it’s Racing and Gaming or other commissions, he wants to see some fresh blood, some fresh ideas, some new members of these boards and commissions,” Roeder says.
Diane Hamilton of Storm Lake has been a member of the Racing and Gaming Commission for 10 years and her current term expires at the end of April. Hamilton had asked to be appointed to another three-year term. The governor’s spokesman says Culver took that “into account.”
“…But that’s not the deciding factor. It’s not the individual’s decision to make,” Roeder says. “It’s his and this was one commission, as others, that he just felt it was time for a new face, a new voice on that particular commission.”
Culver has appointed Angela Rivera-Harrison, a Des Moines woman who had been serving on the state Electrical Examiners Board, to start serving on the Racing and Gaming Commission on May 1st. “She has been involved with labor and to us, that’s a perspective that ought to have a voice (in) state government,” Roeder says. “We just felt it was a good move for her to come over to Racing and Gaming and just provide a different perspective on that commission.”
The governor, however, is not injecting “fresh blood” on the board that governs Iowa, Iowa State and U.N.I. Culver has reappointed Board of Regents members Robert Downer of Iowa City, Greta Johnson of Le Mars and Ruth Harkin, the wife of Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. “Ruth Harkin…is just finishing up her first term,” Roeder says. “Having somebody on for a couple of terms (the governor) feels is a good model, but once somebody gets past their second or third term, (Culver) wants to have a change and have his own mark as governor on all these different boards.”
Former Governor Tom Vilsack first appointed Downer to the Board of Regents in 2003. Johnson, a junior at Iowa State, was appointed to a one-year term in 2008 and Culver is reappointing her for another one-year term.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says the governor told legislative leaders last Thursday he wanted stability on the Board of Regents and that’s why he reappointed the three. “In trying times, maybe it’s not time for new blood in that circumstance,” Gronstal says.
Culver has appointed 205 people to terms on various state boards and commissions and each must win the approval 34 of the 50 members of the Iowa Senate to be confirmed for the posts. Read the entire list of nominees on The Blog .