Governor Terry Branstad has named the owner of a Waterloo construction company and a former legislator to serve on the board that governs the three state-supported universities.
Former State Senator Larry McKibben of Marshalltown and Milt Dakovich — the president of Aspro, Incorporated, an asphalt paving company — begin their terms today and will be at tomorrow’s Board of Regents meeting in Iowa City as voting members.
McKibben attended all three universities, getting an undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Iowa, serving as a graduate assistant at Iowa State and earning his law degree from the University of Iowa.
“I’m very interested in the cost of education for young people today,” McKibben told Radio Iowa this morning. “I suspect because of my background of growing up on a farm and working my way through college, going seven-and-a-half years to school and coming out without debt, it’s kind of painful to see what’s going on with young people and the stresses that they’re having.”
Dakovich earned degrees in civil and construction engineering from Iowa State University and is a past president of the Associated General Contractors of Iowa.
“The Regents are going to be doing a billion dollars worth of construction in the next five years,” Dakovich said this morning during an interview with Radio Iowa. “That’s one area where I feel like I can be of some value to the Regents at this time.”
McKibben will be one of four lawyers on the board.
“Obviously the Regents have their own legal counsel, as do the universities, but I think it does give me the experience to communicate with them and understand the language of the contracts,” McKibben said. “I certainly think that will be helpful.”
The children of both men have attend the universities and back when Dakovich was a college student in the 1970s, he served as the iconic, symbolic figure for the university.
“I was Cy. I was the mascot when I was at Iowa State,” Dakovich said. “I had a lot of fun at that.”
Dakovich and McKibben fill terms Branstad originally planned for two other men to serve, but the two nominations fell short of the two-thirds majority needed in the state senate to win confirmation to the board. Dakovich and McKibben must win confirmation from the state senate next year to continue on the board. McKibben, who served in the senate from 1997 to 2008, said he respects those decisions and has no qualms about facing a senate confirmation hearing next year.
“You be honest and you be straightforward and you be open and, in my estimation, things will work out,” McKibben said this morning.
Dakovich has a similar view.
“I don’t have any concerns about that at all,” Dakovich told Radio Iowa. “I’ll bring to the table what I am and what I’m about and that’s all I can do.”
If the two men win senate confirmation in 2014, their terms will end on April 30, 2019.