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Archive for Thursday, February 16, 1995

REGENTS EXPECTING SENATE APPROVAL

February 16, 1995

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— Gov. Bill Graves' four nominees to the state Board of Regents don't foresee any trouble gaining Senate confirmation.

Former Senate President Bob Talkington is ready for judgment day in the Senate.

"I'm looking forward to it," said Talkington, one of Gov. Bill Graves' nominees to the Kansas Board of Regents.

All four -- three new appointees and one reappointee -- attended the February meeting of the board in Topeka. Each is subject to Senate confirmation, but in the interim they participate in board activities. Confirmation hearings will likely begin in early March.

Talkington was joined by fellow regent rookies William Docking, an Arkansas City banker and son of former Gov. Robert Docking, and by Ken Havner, a lawyer and former Hays mayor.

Cimarron rancher Sid Warner was reappointed by Graves. He's been a regent since 1992.

Docking said he didn't expect the confirmation process to be complicated by excessive political wrangling. That would suit Graves, he said.

"He wouldn't have made these appointments if he had anticipated confirmation problems," Docking said.

The Senate last week rejected Gene Bicknell, nominated for the board by Democratic Gov. Joan Finney.

Bicknell, who sought the Republican nomination for governor in 1994, paid a price for backing Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jim Slattery instead of Graves in the general election. Twenty GOP senators joined forces to kill Bicknell's nomination.

"These appointees are not extremely controversial," Docking said. "That is probably in the board's best interests."

Havner and Talkington said they didn't think their nominations would prompt a political feeding frenzy.

The nine-member board oversees operations of Kansas University and five other four-year public universities.

In terms of higher education priorities, Docking said he was interested in promoting efficient use of tax dollars at regents' universities.

He said the board members should focus more on touting accomplishments of the six universities.

"I'm anxious to help get the message out," Docking said.

Havner said he was interested in assessing whether appropriations to regents' institutions were equitable.

"I don't have any indication that it's not, but it will clearly be one of my chores as a regent to see that it is," he said.

Talkington, an attorney who retired from the Legislature in 1988, said he didn't have a list of pressing issues he hoped to address as a regent.

However, he did claim a personal interest in the university system. Four of his children graduated from KU. The fifth earned a degree at Pittsburg State University.

"I might say I have a financial interest in it," Talkington said.

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