Regents elect Bruce Rastetter as new president

IOWA CITY -- The state Board of Regents elected Bruce Rastetter today as its new president during a meeting in Iowa City.

Rastetter, of Alden, has been serving as interim president of the board since May 1, after the six-year board term of former president Craig Lang expired.

Lang, a Republican farmer from Brooklyn, had another year on his term as president -- regents presidents are elected for two-year terms -- but his reappointment for another six-year term as a regent was not confirmed by the Iowa Senate in April.

Rastetter was chosen by unanimous vote of the board, though he abstained from the vote and Regent Ruth Harkin is absent from today's meeting. Rastetter, a Republican, was appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad to the regents in 2011; he will serve as regents president through April 30, 2014.

The businessman has drawn criticism during his board term from the advocacy group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, who charge that Rastetter acted unethically in trying to use Iowa State University's involvement to further his company's proposed land deal in Tanzania. The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board last summer discussed an ethics complaint against Rastetter, but dismissed the allegations.

A statement from Iowa CCI after the board vote called Rastetter a "corporate-political kingpin" and said his ability to effectively lead the board is in serious doubt because "there is not public trust in him to put the common good before corporate profit after months of controversy surrounding him and his predecessor Craig Lang."

After his election as president, Rastetter said he appreciates the accomplishments of the board in the past two years and he looks forward to future board work to "continue to make a difference in the fine institutions that we represent."

The regents also today elected Katie Mulholland as president pro tem, a position Rastetter previously held. Mulholland is a Democrat from Marion who is superintendent of the Linn-Mar School District. She was appointed to the board in 2011.

Today also is the first board meeting for three new regents: Dr. Subhash Sahai of Webster City; Larry McKibben of Marshalltown; and Milt Dakovich of Waterloo. The appointments of McKibben and Dakovich were announced by Branstad Tuesday.

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