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Senate confirms first Auburn trustee nominee

Staff Report
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate confirmed the first of nine recent nominees for the Auburn University Board of Trustees on Thursday.

Jimmy Sanford, a 67-year-old Prattville businessman, was confirmed by a 35-0 vote to fill the board’s District 4 seat, which was vacated after Dwight Carlisle’s term expired in February 2011.

“The appointment is an honor to my family and business associates and friends,” Sanford told the Opelika-Auburn News on Thursday afternoon. “It’s all because of them that I’m able to offer my service for such responsibility.”

Sanford, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn University, was one of the nine nominees chosen in 2011 that were later withdrawn from consideration after there was a public outcry over the inclusion of longtime trustee Bobby Lowder and questions were raised about the openness of the selection process. Lowder subsequently withdrew his name from further consideration.

Gov. Robert Bentley began the nominations process anew, and the selection committee whittled down more than 170 applicants to 35 candidates. The selection committee interviewed the candidates in January and chose the nominees on Feb. 6.

Brian Keeter, the university’s director of public affairs, said the confirmation is effective immediately, which allows Sanford to be seated for the board’s meeting on April 20.

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“My goal is to learn. I characterize myself as a leader/servant with emphasis on servant,” Sanford said. “… If ever I’m chosen to lead, then I will do my best to be responsible and lead, but my first goal is to learn.”

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