Branstad appoints McKibben to Iowa Board of Regents

Gov. Terry Branstad appointed Marshalltown attorney and former state senator Larry McKibben to the Iowa Board of Regents Tuesday.

McKibben, 66, began his term Tuesday and will serve through April 30, 2019.

McKibben is with the firm of Moore, McKibben, Goodman & Lorentz, LLP, in Marshalltown.

He served in the Iowa Senate from 1997 to 2008, where he chaired the Ways and Means Committee, also serving as the president pro tem. Citing demands of his law practice, McKibben did not to seek re-election in 2008, for the seat currently held by Steve Sodders, D-State Center.

An attempt to reclaim the seat in 2012 was unsuccessful, as McKibben lost to fellow Republican Jane Jech in the primary.

Sodders defeated Jech in the general election.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected by the governor and look forward to serving the people of Iowa,” McKibben said. “I believe the governor wanted an individual who could step in and offer immediate skills. As an attorney, I know how to interpret the many documents the board is expected to manage. As a former legislator, I can help communicate effectively between the legislature and regents.”

However, McKibben said that as a regent, he would initially be doing a lot of “listening and learning.”

Also appointed to the board of regents Tuesday was construction business owner Milt Dakovich, of Waterloo. Dakovich began his term Tuesday and will serve through April 30, 2019.

Both will be up for Senate confirmation in the 2014 legislative session.

“I have chosen two passionate public servants who will help guide our regents institutions through the next six years,” Branstad said. “Larry’s legislative expertise and Milt’s construction background will provide both of them with the knowledge and experience needed for these two seats on the board.”

McKibben acknowledged the role of the regents had changed over the years, becoming more visible and requiring members to make politically controversial and challenging decisions at times.

In April, the Democrat-controlled Iowa Senate voted down two of Branstad’s nominees for the regents after heated and highly partisan debates on issues involving gay rights and academic freedom.

The Senate rejected Robert Cramer, of Grimes, who heads a bridge construction firm, and Craig Lang, a dairy farmer from Brooklyn, who was then president of the board of regents.

Both are Republicans.

Regardless, McKibben said he is looking forward to his role in impacting the state’s education system.

“I believe education is the foundation for growth development and well-being of future generations of Iowa,” he said. “And I’ve always had a high level of respect for the regents.”

The Iowa Board of Regents consists of the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School and the Iowa School for the Deaf.