Republican incumbent regents Newman and Richner win re-election

By Kyle Swanson, Daily News Editor
Published November 2, 2010

University Regents Andrea Fischer Newman (R–Ann Arbor) and Andrew Richner (R–Grosse Pointe Park) won their bids for re-election to the University’s Board of Regents yesterday.

The two incumbents narrowly beat out their Democratic opponents Paul Brown and Greg Stephens. The wins will give Newman, a 16-year veteran of the Board of Regents, and Richner, an 8-year veteran, each another 8-year term as regents.

As of 5 a.m. — when 97 percent of precincts throughout the state had reported their results — Newman had garnered 26 percent of the vote, while Richner had taken 24 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, as of the same time, Brown had earned 22 percent of the vote and Stephens had received 21 percent of the vote.

In an interview last night, Newman said she was grateful to the voters of Michigan who had given her the chance to serve another term on the Board of Regents.

“I’m thrilled and honored. I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it,” Newman said. “I’m very appreciative to the voters of the state of Michigan for giving me this opportunity, and I’m really looking forward to the next eight years.”

And in the next eight years, Newman said she had big plans to work with fellow regents and University officials on a wide range of issues.

“We have a lot of changes, a lot of things coming,” she said. “Sometime in the next eight years, you’re going to see a new president, you’re going to see more dorm renovations and updates, possibly maybe even some new dorms, you’re going to see more changes to the campus, you’re going to see more entrepreneurial activity.”

Newman added that she hopes to see minimal increases, if any, in tuition over the next several years.

“We hear what people are saying,” Newman said. “We get it.”

In an interview last night, Richner said he too was humbled by his re-election and looked forward to starting his second term as a University regent.

“It’s an honor to have been re-elected by the voters of the state to another term on the Board of Regents, and I’m looking forward to continuing efforts to improve the academic standing of the University, while we continue to grapple with the budget challenges created by the state’s economic situation,” Richner said.

“We’re going to have to continue focusing on cost-cutting efforts and looking for alternative revenue sources,” Richner continued.

Richner added that he’s “encouraged by the change of leadership in Lansing.”

“I think with the new leadership there’s hope that we can turn the state’s economy around which will benefit the University through increased state appropriations as state revenues increase,” he said.

But Richner was quick to say the election wasn’t just good news for Republicans, but for all Michiganders.

“It’s good for the University community, it’s good for the state and I’m excited about … the prospect for an economic revival in Michigan,” he said.

In an e-mail interview yesterday afternoon, Brown wrote that he was optimistic about the race, but admitted he thought the outcome of the gubernatorial race would ultimately decide who would win seats as University regents.

“The key to the success of my candidacy will be voter turnout and the outcome of the races at the top of the ticket,” Brown wrote. “I am optimistic that my state-wide campaign, the thousands of Michigan citizens I met throughout the state, and my message that U of M must become more affordable, accessible and an economic driver for every part of the state, will help turn the tide of the apparent Republican success at that top of the ticket.”

Newman stressed throughout her campaign that if re-elected she would continue to work on a wide-range of issues she’s been involved with over her past two terms — including work to improve the University’s national and international rankings, University housing and facilities at the University of Michigan Health System.

“We need to continue to update and move the institution forward to stay at the top of the pack,” Newman said in an interview in August. “I think I can be helpful there because I’ve seen us do it, and I know what it takes to maintain excellence and grow.”

Richner also said during his campaign that he would continue work on several projects already underway at the University if re-elected to the Board of Regents.

“These efforts include reducing the University’s health care and insurance costs, being more deliberate in using and allocating space across the campus, promoting energy efficiency, seeking more disciplined budgeting from the University’s schools, colleges and other business units and selling non-productive assets,” Richner wrote in an e-mail interview in August.