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No vote planned on higher education secretary nominee

Gov. Larry Hogan's choice to head the Maryland Higher Education Commission is not scheduled for a confirmation vote in the Senate Executive Nominations committee Monday night -- the last scheduled meeting of the panel during the current 90-day session.

Sen. Jamie Raskin, the committee's chairman, said he has no plans to bring up the nomination of Jennie C. Hunter-Cevera for a vote.

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"I don't think it's in anyone's best interests to have a vote at this point," said Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat. Raskin said that while Hunter-Cevera is an accomplished person, senators have concerns about whether she is "the right fit" for higher education secretary.

Hunter-Cevera is the only Cabinet nominee of the Republican governor who has not been confirmed by the Democratic-dominated Senate. Her confirmation ran into trouble after former U.S. Sen. Joseph D. Tydings, a former member of the University of Maryland System Board of Regents, raised objections over her record as president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute from 1999 to 2010.

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Concerns have also been raised about a vote of no confidence by the faculty of that school in 2009.

If Hunter-Cevera does not receive a confirmation vote before the General Assembly adjourns April 13, Hogan could keep her on in an acting capacity and resubmit her name next year. If she were not confirmed next year, she could no longer continue in that post.

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