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Heineman: Farm focus key for new U. of Neb. regent

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm •  Published: February 15, 2013
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Schmit-Albin said the research issue was a "deal breaker" for her group.

"You can't just say I'm pro-life, like Mike Jones was saying, but he's not on research," she said. "Lavon Heidemann had a consistent record in the Legislature, voting with us any time the issue came up."

The regents, who are elected, voted 4-4 in 2009 not to place tighter restrictions on embryonic stem cell research than those outlined under federal guidelines. The guidelines were expanded after Obama took office.

The board needed a majority of its eight voting members to approve the measure. Former board member Jim McClurg, who was endorsed by Nebraska Right to Life, voted against the resolution.

Jones said Friday that he has already applied for the open seat. In an interview, he said his answers in a Nebraska Right to Life survey were identical to the ones given by Heidemann. The two only differed on the research issue, which Jones said he declined to answer because the vote had happened years ago. Jones said he wanted to be judged on more than his views opposing abortion.

"The university is critical to the health and well-being of our state," Jones said. "This is an institution of higher education. Let's not politicize it more than it already is."

Heineman said he doesn't consider Jones' position a disqualifying factor.

"I'd say very candidly that I've met him a couple of times, and he appears to be a respected business leader," Heineman said. "He ran a competitive race, so I'll consider him along with everyone else who applies."

The governor's office is accepting applications for the regents' seat through the close of business on March 8.