|6th Lieutenant Governor of Alaska|
December 3, 1990 – December 5, 1994
|Preceded by||Stephen McAlpine|
|Succeeded by||Fran Ulmer|
September 24, 1925 |
|Political party||Alaskan Independence Party (Past)
John Bruce "Jack" Coghill (born September 24, 1925, in Fairbanks, Alaska) was the sixth lieutenant governor of Alaska, serving from 1990 to 1994 under Governor Walter Hickel. Both were members of the Alaskan Independence Party. Originally elected as the Republican Party's lieutenant governor nominee in 1990, Coghill had faced serious compatibility issues with running mate Arliss Sturgulewski. AIP chair Joe Vogler vacated his party's nominated slate of John Lindauer and Jerry Ward and replaced them with Hickel and Coghill. While Hickel turned his back on the AIP and their platform almost immediately after taking office, Coghill remained loyal to the party, even becoming their gubernatorial nominee in 1994. Prior to these events, Coghill was well known in Alaskan political circles as "Mr. Republican."
In his prior political career, he was best known by many for being the mayor of Nenana in the interior of Alaska for 22 years. Coghill also served in the territorial and state legislatures of Alaska for a number of years. He was elected to the territorial House in 1952 and again in 1956, representing the 4th District, which encompassed the interior and portions of southwestern Alaska. After statehood, he served as a senator in the first 3 state legislatures. Coghill ran unopposed in 1960, and did not run for re-election in 1964. He would be once again elected to the state Senate in 1984, and served until he resigned on December 3, 1990 to assume the post of lieutenant governor. Coghill was also elected to Alaska's constitutional convention, serving as one of the 55 Club (55 members wrote the constitution in 55 days) and his copy of the constitution hangs in Constitution Hall on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2004.
He married Frances Peterson, from Fairbanks, and had six children: Patty, John, Jr. (who succeeded him as a state legislator), twins Jerry and Jim, Paula, and Jeff. His father, William A. Coghill, emigrated to the United States from Scotland and chose to come straight to Alaska. He was a pioneer who hiked to the Interior from Valdez, worked as a printer for what is now the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, and then opened a trading post in Nenana. The Coghill Store is still in operation and owned by the family.
Jack had two older brothers, William F. (Col. U.S. Army Ret. & former CFO Alaska Railroad) and Robert A. Sr. (deceased, managed Coghill's Store after the death of William A.), who also stayed in Alaska their entire lives.
Jack published his autobiography, "Growing up in Alaska" in 2009 describing his personal and political life in the 49th state.
- Alaska's Digital Archives - Photo of Coghill as a delegate to the constitutional convention.
- Alaska's Digital Archives - Photo of Coghill during his first state senate tenure.
- Alaska's Digital Archives - Photo of Coghill during his second state senate tenure.
- Project Jukebox - Video of interview with Coghill, 1995, as he talks about the early days of Nenana.
- Jack Coghill at 100 Years of Alaska's Legislature