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Don Davis, Forum News Service, Published March 06 2013

Johnson, Cohen re-elected to Minnesota Board of Regents

ST. PAUL – Dean Johnson’s first job after being re-elected a University of Minnesota regent Wednesday night was rushing to the state House chambers to thank lawmakers who voted for him.

The ex-politician knows the importance of maintaining relationships.

“I know 90 percent of these folks,” the former state senator said about lawmakers.

Even so, the Willmar resident said, “this is more difficult to me than it was last time” because legislators tend to ask tougher questions of those in office than challengers. The election was for his second six-year term.

Johnson and Regent Chairwoman Linda Cohen were re-elected as at-large members of the university’s governing board during the Wednesday night joint House-Senate meeting.

Also elected were Abdul Omari, to represent students, and Peggy Lucas, a founding partner of Brighton Development Corporation and former member of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, from the 5th Congressional District in the Minneapolis area.

Regents are not paid.

Votes in all races were split among the winners, who were recommended by a House-Senate committee, and others who had applied for regents posts.

The vote largely was partisan, with Democrats who control the Legislature backing the committee recommendations. Johnson left the state Senate as a Democrat, although he started his legislative service as a Republican.

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