TOPEKA — The Kansas African-American Affairs Commission's top staff member and two former legislators were named Tuesday to the board overseeing the state's higher education system by Gov. Mark Parkinson.
Parkinson appointed commission executive director Mildred Edwards, of Wichita, and former state Senate Majority Leader Tim Emert, of Independence, to the Board of Regents. The governor reappointed former state Rep. Ed McKechnie, of Pittsburg, who had served as a regent since February.
The Board of Regents sets policy and oversees the operations of state universities, community colleges and technical colleges. Appointments to the nine-member board are considered prestigious and often go to business leaders and former elected officials.
Edwards, Emert and McKechnie will serve four-year terms that start July 1. Their appointments must be approved by the Senate Confirmations Oversight Committee this summer and ratified by the entire Senate when the Legislature reconvenes next year.
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Edwards won't have to leave the African-American Affairs Commission, the Governor's Office said. A community psychologist, she joined the commission in December. Edwards has worked as a consultant and was a project director for a coalition against substance abuse.
She'll replace Jill Docking, of Wichita, whose term expires at the end of June.
Emert, an attorney, served four years on the State Board of Education, which oversees public schools, before being elected to the Kansas Senate in 1992. A Republican, he served eight years there, the last four as majority leader.
He's served on the state Government Ethics Commission since January 2006 and will have to give up his seat there. He replaces Donna Shank, of Liberal, whose term is expiring.
Parkinson appointed McKechnie earlier this year to replace Bill Thornton, a former Atchison business executive who was named by the governor to be commerce secretary. McKechnie served in the Kansas House from 1991-2000 as a Democrat and is an executive for Watco Companies Inc., a Pittsburg-based rail company.