Nine seeking two seats in Board of Regents race


Nine candidates, including an incumbent, are vying for two eight-year terms on the Board of Regents in the Nov. 4 election.

The candidates are: Mike Behm, Democrat-Grand Blanc; James Lewis Hudler, Libertarian-Chelsea; John Jascob, L-Temperance; Joe Sanger, U.S. Taxpayers-Lansing; Christine C. Schwartz, UST-Dorr; Dr. Rob Steele, Republican-Ypsilanti; Ian Swanson, Green Party-Grand Rapids; Ronald Weiser, R-Ann Arbor; and Regent Kathy White, D-Ann Arbor.

Regent Julia Donovan Darlow, D-Ann Arbor, is not seeking re-election.

The Record contacted the candidates, requesting biographical information, a photo and a platform statement. Six responded; their information follows.

Mike Behm

Political affiliation: Democrat


Mike Behm

Background: Behm graduated from U-M in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. While on campus, he wrote for The Michigan Daily, played intramural sports and was a member of the Michigan Men’s Glee Club. He has practiced law in Michigan for 22 years. Additionally, Behm co-founded the Level Field Institute, which measured how much each auto manufacturer contributes to the domestic economy. He and his wife, Kay, have three children and live in Grand Blanc.

Platform statement: I believe my background as a parent, in business, in my community, and as an alumnus of the University of Michigan will provide a needed voice on the Board of Regents.

I am running for regent because our institutions of higher learning represent our state. If our universities are strong, then our state is strong. I want to maintain the university’s legacy as one of the top institutions, not just in the country, but in the world. As a regent, I will work to strengthen the university for the future.

To me, the three priorities of a U-M regent are:

1. Advocating on behalf of the University of Michigan, from the classrooms to the fields of play.

2. Working with government and business leaders to ensure adequate funding and identify other strategies to keep tuition affordable, and improve access to low interest student loans and provide more grants to students from low-income families.

3. Pushing for resources necessary to help the university’s students and faculty drive innovation to strengthen our Michigan economy.

James Lewis Hudler

Party affiliation: Libertarian

Website: N/A

James Hudler

Platform statement: The University of Michigan is one of the most prominent universities in the world in spite of, not because of government funding.

I believe that the university should gradually reduce its dependence on taxpayer funding and become a private institution. While doing this, the university should take the following steps:

• Lobby for less government regulation of the university as taxpayer support is cut.

• Require all athletics to be self-supporting so that they use no taxpayer money.

• Provide instructional services and facilities to private companies for employee training and use the revenues to reduce tuition for regular students.

The university should also implement the following civil liberties measures:

• Stop enforcement of victimless crime laws on campus.

• Allow free speech. Despicable language is best handled by community censure, not by censorship codes.

• Maintain university nondiscrimination policies.

John Jascob*

Political affiliation: Libertarian


Background: Jascob received a Bachelor of Arts degree from U-M in 1987, graduating with highest distinction with a concentration in classical archaeology. He subsequently earned a Master of Arts degree in teaching Latin from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (1990) and a Juris Doctor degree from Concord University School of Law (2002). A lifelong learner, Jascob currently is enrolled in the Master of Laws program at the University of Alabama School of Law.

Jascob works as a securities law editor at a leading legal publisher, after having spent many years in the financial services industry. Deeply committed to the value of a liberal arts education, he has taught elementary and intermediate Latin at both the university and high school levels. He is a member of the State Bar of California and Phi Beta Kappa.

Platform statement: I am running because I am deeply committed to the value of a liberal arts education and the importance of free academic inquiry in a free society. The university must zealously protect free speech and open debate on campus. I strongly oppose speech codes or other attempts at prohibiting expression protected by the First Amendment. I advocate ending university-contracted military research, ROTC programs and university investments tied to the occupation of Palestine.

I will oppose tuition increases, while seeking to reduce administrative costs by privatizing nonessential, nonacademic services. I also advocate the decentralization and devolution of the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses in order to reduce costs and increase student and faculty autonomy.

* Photo not provided.

Joe Sanger

Party affiliation: U.S. Taxpayers


Joe Sanger

Background: Sanger is a retired certified public accountant. Other biographical information and a campaign statement are on his website:

Platform Statement: Over the past 59 years, University of Michigan tuition has increased at 9.70 times the rate of inflation — an astounding and totally unconscionable price increase.

How this was done is explained in my August 1997 Michigan Taxpayer article, “Higher Education in America, Ripping Off the Kids for Fun and Profit.”  That article is on my website.

Had University of Michigan tuition increased only at the rate of inflation, today’s tuition would be $793/semester.

The university is still teaching the same way it did in 1817. Students are required to live on or near campus and attend classes in lecture halls accommodating a limited number of students.

Here’s what I propose:

Today’s technology permits on-line instruction of an unlimited number of students, each learning at an in-home computer. The university can provide lecture tapes licensed from the world’s best instructors.  Students can report to testing centers in major cities for a mid-term and a final exam. Anyone who pays the tuition fee can be admitted. Students can take all of their classes without ever setting foot on a University of Michigan campus.

By learning at home each student can save $10,000 a year in residence hall fees.  At $800 per semester tuition, each student can save $12,218 in tuition.

It’s time for the university to get out of the horse and buggy age and come into the 21st century.

Christine C. Schwartz

Political affiliation: U.S. Taxpayers

Website: N/A

Dr. Robert Steele

Party affiliation: Republican


Rob Steele

Background: Dr. Rob Steele, a U-M regent scholar, graduated from Greenville High School and U-M with undergrad and medical degrees by age 23. He started in private practice at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and served 20 years as a U-M clinical assistant professor of medicine.

A long family history of service to U-M and public education was started with his grandfather ’25 (starter for Yost, lifelong public educator with ties to U-M), and grandmother ’24 (chair, Committee for the Continuing Education of Women and a national co-chair of the 1964 U-M Endowment Campaign) and was continued by his parents, both grads.

Platform statement: Priorities for U-M

Improve transparency by voluntary compliance with standard Open Meeting Act requirements and posting line item budgets and checkbooks online. Steele will have public office hours for all stakeholders including city residents and officials. 

Reduce tuition and housing prices — tuition discounts during the spring/summer terms for those who graduate early. Sushi chefs and wood-burning pizza ovens aren’t required to compete for students, or create unnecessary student debt. 

Accept more of Michigan’s most capable high school grads and recruit STEM grads to settle in Michigan by offering tuition refunds.

Be ready to deal with the substantial risks of massive fixed capital costs with potential disruptions coming to the high cost residential education paradigm.

With half the U-M budget related to the health care, education and research, Dr. Steele’s combination of faculty experience with medical education and practice experience with clinical research would be unique on the board.

Ian Swanson

Political affiliation: Green Party

Website: N/A

Ronald Weiser

Political Affiliation: Republican


Kathy White

Political affiliation: Democrat


Kathy White

Background: White is the current chair of the U-M Board of Regents. She has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University, a J.D. from the University of Washington, an LL.M from George Washington University Law School, and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.  She is a professor of law at Wayne State University specializing in patent law and contracts.  White is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.  In the summers, she teaches constitutional and military law to First Class Cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point. White is a registered patent attorney, Fulbright Senior Scholar and a White House Fellow.

Platform statement: Quality education is central to America’s ability to remain globally competitive. U-M must engage in public/private partnerships to continue building bridges between education, science, industry and government and create synergies needed to improve higher education quality. U-M is well positioned to continue to translate knowledge to solve problems of general public interest to meet societal needs. U-M must also develop students into leaders who have a desire to solve ill-structured problems.  This requires being knowledgeable, intellectually curious, and working well with others. Having a safe space for civil discourse gets to the very heart of the importance of higher education. One of the board’s most important tasks is to make sure there are sufficient resources to provide opportunities for that environment to flourish, and to ensure the university’s culture is one of openness and tolerance.


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