Iowa Republican Party member appointed to serve as new regent

David Barker of Iowa City was recently appointed to replace Larry McKibben on the state Board of Regents.


Contributed (Wikimedia Commons)

Marissa Payne and Andy Mitchell

An Iowa Republican Party official will be the newest member of the state Board of Regents later this spring, maintaining the majority-Republican political balance of the nine-member governing board of Iowa’s public universities and special schools.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced new appointments to state governing boards, including regents, on March 1. David Barker, 57, of Iowa City, will replace Regent Larry McKibben, whose term expires April 30.

If confirmed by the Iowa Senate, Barker, along with current Regents Milt Dakovich, a registered Republican, and Jim Lindenmayer, who has no party affiliation, will serve six-year terms as regents.

The appointment keeps the regents’ political balance at five Republicans, one Democrat, and three with no party affiliations. It also maintains the gender balance of five women and four men.

Iowa Code requires the state’s governing boards, including the regents, have a political and gender balance, so the regents cannot have more than five members of one gender or political affiliation.

Campaign-disclosure reports show Barker has provided $30,500 in contributions and $32,883.21 in in-kind contributions to Reynolds’ political-campaign committee since December 2016.

In addition to being an Iowa Republican Party official, Barker is a former economist for the Federal Reserve and a partner in Barker Apartments, owning a number of apartments in the Iowa City and Coralville area including Emerald Court, Westgate Villa, and Parkside Manor. He also serves on the board of directors for the Center of American Entrepreneurship.

At the University of Iowa, Barker taught real estate and corporate finance as an adjunct professor. His research has appeared in media outlets including the New York Times, The Economist, and Time.

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The Iowa City native graduated from Iowa City West. He earned a B.A. from the University of California-Berkeley, as well as a master’s and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.

Only one regents’ meeting on April 18-19 remains for McKibben. During his term, the regents hired presidents for each of the three regent universities — UI President Bruce Harreld in 2015, University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook in 2016, and Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen in 2017.

McKibben was one of five regents involved in the 2015 private meetings with Harreld during the UI presidential search. The move prompted two lawsuits — one against the regents and another against the UI presidential search committee, alleging violations of Iowa open-meetings law.

In the former case, a judge in January upheld a 2017 ruling that the meetings were held in compliance with state law, because a majority of regents never met with Harreld simultaneously. The UI settled the latter case without admitting wrongdoing.