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Gov. Mike Pence has named Democrat Gordon Hendry to serve on the State Board of Education, which is facing difficult decisions about curriculum standards and school grades.
Hendry is first vice president of CB Richard Ellis group, where he serves as Midwest regional leader of the company's public institutions and education solutions group.
"His leadership experience, commitment to public service, and work with both education and economic groups will be a critical asset to the State Board of Education in the years ahead," Pence said in a statement.
Hendry will fill a seat vacated by Republican David Shane, who resigned after Pence appointed him chairman of the Indiana Region 5 Works Council.
The appointment comes amid complaints that Pence had appointed too many Republicans to the board.
State law says the board can have no more than six of its 10 members from the same political party. According to The Times newspaper, the governor's office claims six Republicans, two Democrats and two independents serve on the panel. But the newspaper said a review has determined Daniel Elsener, whom the governor's office called an independent, is likely a Republican based at least in part on his voting record.
Pence's appointment of Hendry eliminates any concern about the party split.
Hendry has worked for several economic development groups and served as the director of economic development under former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, a Democrat.
Lesley Weidenbener is the executive editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.