For more than 20 years, a Mayo/Rochester representative has had the Congressional District 1 position on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. Quite simply, we think it’s time that changed.

Dr. Randy Simonson, CEO of Grasix Animal Health in Worthington, is a finalist for the post, with a decision scheduled to be made later this month by a joint session of the full Minnesota House and Senate. Many in the community have been engaged in an active campaign to get Simonson chosen for the board, citing his expertise in the areas of business and education. He has been significantly involved in both during his many years in this city, and we are confident he would be an outstanding representative of Worthington and southwest Minnesota.

The run-up to the House and Senate vote, it should be said, has gone a bit differently in the case of the potential Simonson seat than other openings on the board. Simonson, along with retired Mayo Clinic radiologist Dr. Claire Bender, had sought the District 1 spot, but Bender opted to drop out of the race last week. That’s when Randy Demmer, a former state representative who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House in 2010, jumped into the fray.

Demmer, though, also dropped out, but Simonson’s candidacy now has a potentially bigger hurdle to overcome. That’s because Dr. Patricia Simmons, a Mayo Clinic physician who retired at the end of 2014, has now chosen to seek a third term on the regents’ board.

The University of Minnesota is already making tremendous financial investment in Rochester via its work and research with Mayo, as well as through millions of dollars in subsidies for that city’s new Destination Medical Center. That’s fine, but the U of M needs to remember this fair corner of the state, too. Having Simonson on the regents’ board would no doubt help. This is, after all, supposed to be the Greater Minnesota session in St. Paul.