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Forum staff reports, Published March 11 2014

Six people seek two open seats on ND Board of Higher Education

BISMARCK – Six people are vying for two open seats on the State Board of Higher Education.

The list includes current board President Kirsten Diederich, who is eligible for a second term, and some former and current legislators.

Kirsten Baesler, the superintendent of public instruction who chairs the nominating committee for the board, said the committee will review the applications and recommend a group of nominees to Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who will make the final appointments.

Diederich’s term, along with fellow board member Duaine Espegard, will end June 30.

Applicants include Diederich, of Fargo, a retired biology professor and current board chairwoman; Rep. Curt Kreun, a Grand Forks Republican who told the Grand Forks Herald he would not seek re-election and instead applied for the state board post; Fargo-based optometrist Kevin Melicher; Michael Ness, superintendent of the Hazen Public School District in western North Dakota; former Grand Forks Republican Sen. Rod St. Aubyn, now of West Fargo; and Benjamin Vig, a farmer and former Democratic state representative from Sharon.

Board members are appointed to four-year terms starting July 1, 2014.

The state Senate also must confirm Dalrymple’s choices when the Legislative session begins Jan. 6, 2015, for them to remain on the board.

The nominating committee will meet at the state Capitol at 1 p.m. on April 1 in the North Dakota Supreme Court’s conference room.