A month after Havre resident Lynn Hamilton unexpectedly announced her resignation from the Montana Board of Regents, another surprise hit the higher education scene on Tuesday.
Gov. Brian Schweitzer announced Tuesday that the regents’ last Hi-Line representative would be replaced by another, Paul Tuss of Havre, the executive director of Bear Paw Development Corp.
“I’m honored and humbled by the fact that the governor would appoint me to such a prestigious position that is so critical to the future of our state, and I look forward to carrying on the tradition of Hi-Line regents, like Lynn Hamilton and Jim Kaze. Both of them were outstanding examples in how to conduct yourself in this public role of responsibility. ”
Tuss will fill Hamilton’s seat until the end of her current seven-year term, Feb. 1, 2013. Regents oversee operations of the Montana University System.
While the additional work may be daunting, and starting soon with a regents meeting in Bozeman in two weeks, Tuss is confident that the appointment will not affect his work on the economic development of the Hi-Line.
“It was a difficult decision because of the time commitment involved, but there is arguably nothing more important to our state, both from a social and economic perspective, than educating our residents, ” Tuss said. “The tie between economic development and education has to be strong if we’re going to advance the state.
“As an economic development practitioner, hopefully I can bring something to the state that is positive. ”
Rep. Kris Hansen, R-Havre, has worked with both Tuss and the Board of Regents during her first term in this spring’s legislative session. She was surprised to hear the announcement, as she had just heard from Montana State University’s President Waded Cruzado Tuesday morning that the search was still going on, but agrees with the governor that Tuss is a great choice and looks forward to working more with Tuss, especially as she prepares to delve deeper into the Montana education system.
“He is an excellent, well-informed citizen of the Hi-Line and I think he’ll do a great job, ” Hansen said.
Tuss is from Anaconda and graduated from the University of Montana with a political science degree. He has served on several local and statewide boards, including the MSU presidential search committee that chose Cruzado less than two years ago.