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House speaker fills other half of UM System review group

House of Representatives Speaker Todd Richardson chose four people for a state-sponsored review group of the UM System.

Former system president Gary Forsee, Maryville University professor Pamela Washington, former University of Missouri vice chancellor Robert Duncan and prominent Mizzou donor Jeanne Sinquefield round out the eight-person UM System Review Commission. Senator Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, sponsored the resolution to form the board, in order to review, among other things, the UM System’s rules, campus structure and satellite facilities. The group will report back to the state legislature and UM System by December 31.

The four picks from Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, join four others chosen on June 16 by Senate Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin. Those include Blackburn farmer Neal Bredehoeft, Columbia radio host Renee Hulshof, pharmaceutical executive Dave Spence and lawyer Michael Williams.

Hulshof graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism, and co-hosts a news talk show on KFRU in Columbia. While she doesn’t consider her selection as “weighty” as someone as Forsee, she told ABC 17 News she hopes to bring a level of “common sense” as someone who has closely watched the University of Missouri for several years. She said Senator Richard’s office wanted her as someone who knew when to criticize and applaud the school.

“Who’s the most critical of you?” Hulshof told ABC 17 News. “Well, it’s people that care about you, are the ones that are going to hold you to the highest standard. And so we care about that institution in this state.”

House Minority Leader Jake Hummel criticized the choices Wednesday in a statement as “advancing a Republican agenda” more than helping the UM System.

“The commissioners, who were solely chosen by Republican legislative leaders, include one failed GOP gubernatorial candidate, a right-wing radio talk show host who is the spouse of another failed GOP gubernatorial candidate and a person whose family essentially owns the Missouri Republican Party due to the tens of millions of dollars they have given in support of its candidates and agenda. This commission is a product the ongoing Republican temper tantrum over the UM System that likely won’t do anything but waste $750,000 in taxpayer money.”

Hulshof’s husband, Kenny, served as a U.S. Representative for parts of mid-Missouri for several years, before running for governor in 2008, when he lost to Jay Nixon. The statement also refers to Spence, he ran for governor and lost in 2012, and Sinquefield’s husband, Rex. Renee Hulshof, reduced the statement to “politics,” but said

“If he would like to criticize me for my own failures, or accomplishments, he’s welcome to do so,” Hulshof said. “I find it a little sexist that he would choose to criticize me for my husband’s.”

“I was my husband’s biggest cheerleader, biggest fan when it came to the campaign. But to define me by that would be like to define Hillary Clinton by her husband.”

While admitting her personal political beliefs differed from the Democratic presidential candidate, Hulshof said it would be unfair to simply link her to her husband, former president Bill Clinton.

Hummel did not respond to a further request for comment on his statement.

Hulshof’s background in communication and public relations sometimes frustrated her while watching the university handle political and campus turmoil last school year. Perceptions of the school from outside Columbia also exacerbated stress of parents looking for college, Hulshof said.

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