Chancy Croft

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Leland Chancy Croft
Member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents
In office
1995–2003
Preceded by Mark H. Helmericks
Succeeded by Cynthia Henry
Chair of the University of Alaska Board of Regents
In office
2001–2002
Preceded by Michael J. Burns
Succeeded by Brian D. Rogers
Member of the Alaska Senate
from the E district
In office
January 11, 1971 – January 14, 1979
Preceded by indeterminable (at-large)[1]
Succeeded by Terry Stimson[2]
Member of the Alaska House of Representatives
from the 8th district
In office
January 27, 1969 – January 10, 1971
Preceded by indeterminable (at-large)[1]
Succeeded by indeterminable (at-large)[1]
Personal details
Born August 21, 1937
Jennings, Louisiana
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Toni Croft (née Williamson)
Children Eric, Kymberly, Lee
Residence Anchorage, Alaska
Alma mater University of Texas School of Law
Occupation Attorney

Leland Chancy Croft (born August 21, 1937) is a workers' compensation attorney and Democratic Party politician from the U.S. state of Alaska. Elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1968, he served a single term from 1969 to 1971. He was then elected to the Alaska Senate, serving in that body from 1971 to 1979, including serving as the president of the Senate from 1975 to 1977 during the 9th Alaska State Legislature.

Facing reelection in his downtown Anchorage-area district in 1978, he instead ran for governor of Alaska. Winning the Democratic nomination in the primary election over two challengers, he would become the first of 3 major party nominees in Alaska gubernatorial elections to place third in the general election. The 1978 gubernatorial election was dominated by Republican challenger Walter Hickel. Hickel lost the primary to incumbent Jay Hammond by 98 votes, then launched a write-in campaign, which outpolled Croft in the general election.

Croft largely retired from electoral politics after this campaign, but continues to practice law and remains prominent in legal and political circles in Alaska. He served a term on the University of Alaska Board of Regents from 1995 to 2003, including as chair of the body from 2001 to 2002. His older son, Eric, has gone on to have his own political career.

Early life[edit]

Leland Chancy Croft was born in Jennings, Louisiana on August 21, 1937. He grew up in Odessa, Texas, where he graduated high school. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with baccalaureate degrees in government and sociology, as well as a law degree.

Not long after arriving in Anchorage from Texas in 1962, Croft became a charter member of the Alaska Legal Services Corporation, serving as chairman of the Board of Governors from 1971 to 1978.

Political career[edit]

Chancy Croft was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1968,[3] serving a single term.[4] He was then elected to the Alaska Senate in 1970,[5] serving from 1971 until 1979.[6] He served as Senate President from 1975 to 1977.

He was the Democratic Party's nominee for Governor of Alaska in 1978. Croft won the nomination over Jalmar M. Kerttula and Ed Merdes; both had served in the Senate themselves. Croft was paired with lieutenant gubernatorial nominee Katie Hurley. Hurley, as Katherine T. Alexander, was a government official in the latter days of the Territory of Alaska, who married Alaska constitution signer James J. "Jim" Hurley in 1960 and settled in his home area, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. While still involved in Democratic Party politics, Hurley was largely out of the public eye at that point, busy raising her daughters in Wasilla.

Croft's campaign would be the first of three times in Alaska gubernatorial elections that the major party nominee came in third in the general election. The campaign was overshadowed by the aftermath of the Republican primary between incumbent Jay Hammond and former governor Walter Hickel. Hickel lost the primary by 98 votes, and after an extensive court challenge, launched a write-in campaign. Both Hammond (who won reelection) and Hickel outpolled Croft in the general election.

He was a member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents from 1995 until 2003; he was chairman from 2001 to 2002. He has worked to provide educational service to rural Alaska communities while guiding the university toward increased distance delivery education. He is responsible for establishing the Regents Scholarship benefiting UA junior, senior and graduate students. Croft holds an Honorary Doctor of Law from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Legal career[edit]

Chancy Croft has appeared before the Alaska Supreme Court in over sixty cases, winning two-thirds of those cases. In at least twelve cases, he has lost to the Alaska Workers Compensation Board and in the Alaska Superior Court, only to succeed in the Supreme Court. He practices with The Croft Law Office, located in an older downtown Anchorage office building near the Conoco-Phillips Building.

In 1986, his article, Something More Important Than Money: Vocational Rehabilitation in Workers Compensation Cases, was published in the Alaska Law Review. The article lauded the Alaska statute providing injured workers with training for new careers. The legislature promptly repealed the statute. More recently he unsuccessfully worked with the legislature on potential changes to the Alaska Workers Compensation Act. In 2005, he sued the governor of Alaska, challenging the constitutionality of legislation which created a new executive court to hear appeals from decisions of the Alaska Workers Compensation Board.

Personal life[edit]

Leland Chancy Croft is commonly known by his middle name, which is also his mother's maiden name. His oldest child, Eric (see below), bears the same middle name.

He is married to Antoinette Ruth "Toni" (née Williamson) Croft, a graduate of Stanford University. His children are Eric, Kymberly and Lee. Eric's own career in politics would also include serving in the legislature and running for governor. He additionally ran for mayor of Anchorage. Eric works with his father at The Croft Law Office.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Alaska, from territorial days through the 1980 election and 12th Alaska State Legislature, utilized multi-member legislative districts without designated seats, which elected members at-large.
  2. ^ The 1974 redistricting plan drawn by the Alaska Supreme Court split Anchorage from one to six Senate districts. The resultant District E had two members; due to the four-year term, only one seat was contested in each election cycle, so a successor can be determined in this instance.
  3. ^ Official Returns by Election Precinct - General Election - November 5, 1968 (pdf). Juneau: Office of the Alaska Secretary of State. 1968. p. 15-18. Retrieved March 24, 2013. 
  4. ^ Alaska Legislature Roster of Members 1913-2010 (pdf). Juneau: Alaska Legislative Affairs Agency. 2010. p. 45. Retrieved May 28, 2008. 
  5. ^ Official Returns by Election Precinct - General Election - November 3, 1970 (pdf). Juneau: Office of the Alaska Lieutenant Governor. 1970. p. 9. Retrieved March 24, 2013. 
  6. ^ Alaska Legislature Roster of Members 1913-2010, p. 47-54

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Terry Miller
President of the Alaska Senate
1975 - 1977
Succeeded by
John L. Rader
Preceded by
William Allen Egan
Democratic nominee for Governor of Alaska
1978 (lost)
Succeeded by
Bill Sheffield