February 23, 2007

GOP spokesperson for higher education committee - SIU officials pleased with Bost reappointment

by Tim Crosby

Mike Bost

Rep. Mike Bost

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University officials welcomed the news that a local state lawmaker again is serving as Republican spokesperson for the House Higher Education Committee.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego recently reappointed Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, to the post. As spokesman for the GOP members of the committee, Bost will communicate the party's higher education positions and priorities to the committee chairman and other Democrats.

SIU President Glenn W. Poshard said having a local lawmaker in Bost's position will only benefit higher education.

"It is good news for all of higher education in Illinois that Rep. Mike Bost has been selected by his colleagues to serve as Republican spokesperson for the House Higher Education Committee," Poshard said. "Mike has been a strong supporter of SIU during his many years in Springfield and has established a long record of consistently fighting for our interests by opposing detrimental legislation and supporting our efforts in pursuing important campus and community projects, such as the Transportation Education Center.

"We know he'll continue to use his influence to benefit our University," he said.

Bost, who has served on the committee since his election to the Legislature in 1995, also served the previous two years as his party's spokesperson on the committee. He said the committee has a tradition of bipartisanship and deep concern for higher education institutions throughout the state.

"The majority of the representatives on this committee come from university communities," Bost said. "We understand the issues."

Bost said the committee has influence with the House Higher Education Appropriations Committee, which deals in fiscal matters. In his role as Republican spokesperson, he vowed to keep SIU high on the committee's priority list.

"One thing we spend a lot of time doing is protecting our universities from bad legislation, things that would hinder SIU and keep it from continuing to provide education and research excellence."

Bost said he also would work to secure funding for the Transportation Education Center, planned for the Southern Illinois Airport between Carbondale and Murphysboro.

"That's right out there on our agenda," Bost said, adding that the recent elevation of U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, to chairman of the House Subcommittee on Aviation is an added advantage for the facility.

SIUC Interim Chancellor John M. Dunn welcomed Bost's reappointment to the position.

"Rep. Bost understands and values higher education and his commitment to the state and his home institution, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is commendable," Dunn said.