Ex-MN congressman’s voting record clouds bid for university job

Former Minnesota 6th District U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy’s voting record may come back to haunt him as he tries to get a new gig as president of the University of Colorado.

Kennedy has made some enemies in his current term as the president of the University of North Dakota, and this week Colorado gave him an avenue out of Grand Forks.

The Grand Forks Herald says he’d be one of the shortest-serving presidents in the history of UND.

Kennedy, the only finalist for the new job, told the paper it would be highly unusual if he isn’t confirmed for the position.

About that:

Lesley Smith, a Democrat and a regent at large for the University of Colorado tweeted that information “has come to light” about Kennedy.

That information appears to be Kennedy’s voting record while representing Minnesota in Congress, a record that shouldn’t have been much of a secret to the regents in the first place, but apparently was.

After Wednesday’s announcement that Kennedy was the lone finalist for university president, Colorado residents bombarded regents with complaints that Kennedy voted against same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose.

Regent Smith told the Boulder Daily Camera that Kennedy’s voting record never came up during a two-hour interview.

So why is it a possible deal-breaker now?

“I imagine that will be a question when he goes to forums, and I want to see how he responds and in return how the community responds to his responses,” Smith told the paper. “I want to make sure we have a fair process.”

“With our board, there was no question amongst the nine of us that he was right person for the job,” Board of Regents Chair Sue Sharkey, a Republican, said.

During his time in Congress, according to Sharkey, Kennedy demonstrated an ability to work across the aisle and reach bipartisan decisions, an interesting assertion if it turns out to be true that his voting record was never examined during the search process.

Kennedy’s electoral career ended when he lost a bid for Mark Dayton’s open Senate seat in 2006 to Amy Klobuchar.