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Kasich appoints Petro chancellor of higher education

Ohio Gov. John Kasich appointed fellow Republican Jim Petro as the eighth chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents on Monday. Petro replaces Eric Fingerhut, who resigned from his position last week.

In an interview with The Lantern, Petro said his main priority will be maintaining college affordability while using higher education to boost the state’s economy.

“The goal is access and affordability and excellence, all three,” Petro said. “You want to make sure that there’s opportunities for all Ohioans, so it’s workable and so that not only do we have the best and brightest around Ohio wanting to attend Ohio schools, but we have kids from other states wanting to attend Ohio schools.”

With advice and consent from the senate, the governor appoints members of the Board of Regents. The chancellor oversees a nine-member advisory board, which reports on the condition of higher education in the state, according to the Ohio Board of Regents website.

Petro, 62, was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1980, where he served for four years. In 1991, he became County Commissioner for Cuyahoga County. In 1994, he was elected Ohio Auditor. He became Ohio attorney general in 2002.

Petro ran in Ohio’s 2006 gubernatorial race, but lost in the May primary to Ken Blackwell.

“Throughout his professional life, Jim Petro has dedicated himself to exceptional service on behalf of the citizens of Ohio,” Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee said in a press release. “He has a well-earned reputation for building bipartisan consensus, and his understanding of the inextricable link between higher education and economic development is longstanding and deep. I look forward to working with Chancellor Petro to strengthen our state’s educational infrastructure.”

Petro stressed the importance of streamlining the efficiency of university resources.

“What I hope to do is continue to advocate more broadly for shared services and elimination of duplication so we can try to keep costs down as much as possible,” Petro said. “My hope is we can do that with all of our universities in the state.”

Fingerhut cited the need to “pursue other opportunities” in his letter of resignation.

“I have loved every minute of the job, and remain passionate about the future of higher education in Ohio. It is now time, however, for me to pursue other opportunities for myself and my family,” said the 51-year-old Fingerhut.

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