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Worthington’s Simonson appointed to U of M Board of Regents

WORTHINGTON -- Dr. Randy Simonson, director of Prairie Holdings Group and CEO of Cambridge Technologies in Worthington, has been appointed to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to represent the 1st Congressional District.

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Simonson speaks at the Worthington Bio Conference in 2015. (File photo)

WORTHINGTON - Dr. Randy Simonson, director of Prairie Holdings Group and CEO of Cambridge Technologies in Worthington, has been appointed to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to represent the 1st Congressional District.

Simonson was appointed during a joint convention of the Minnesota House and Senate on Thursday. He received 104 votes, beating out second-place Mary Davenport, interim president of Rochester Community and Technical College, who got 84 votes.

Simonson, who obtained his Ph.D. in veterinary microbiology from the U of M in 2001, was runner-up to Rochester physician Patricia Simmons in 2015. He said he has kept close ties to the university and is excited to influence policy decisions on the board.

“The university is a big part of my life,” Simonson said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the education and mentoring I received from the University of Minnesota.”

Simonson expressed joy in bringing representation to southwest Minnesota, as the board position has long been occupied by Rochester residents. He said he would like to see changes at the U of M regarding the budget, tuition levels and allocation of research dollars. He plans to bring a focus on animal health, agriculture, economic development and student debt.

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“It really bothers me to see Minnesota students, even undergraduates, getting out with $30,000 in debt,” Simonson said. “You even see veterinarians getting out with $140,000 in debt. It bothers me, and I think there’s things that need to be done about that.”

Simonson said he was “very appreciative” of local legislators for their support. Area state legislators Rod Hamilton, Joe Schomacker and Bill Weber lobbied for his appointment. The Worthington City Council and Nobles County Board of Commissioners passed resolutions in support of Simonson, and Worthington Mayor Mike Kuhle lobbied for Simonson during trips to St. Paul.

“This is a great appointment for Dr. Simonson, for Worthington, for southwest Minnesota and the University of Minnesota,” Kuhle said. “Dr. Simonson brings business development, agriculture, bioscience, microbiology, and education experience to this important position. It’s great that our region of the state is now represented on the board.”

Simonson will serve on the 12-member board through 2021. 

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