Fran Ulmer

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Fran Ulmer
Fran Ulmer cropped.jpg
7th Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
In office
December 5, 1994 – December 2, 2002
Governor Tony Knowles
Preceded by Jack Coghill
Succeeded by Loren Leman
Mayor of Juneau
In office
Preceded by Bill Overstreet
Succeeded by Ernest Polley
Personal details
Born (1947-02-01) February 1, 1947 (age 69)
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bill Council
Children Amy
Alma mater University of Wisconsin, Madison

Frances Ann "Fran" Ulmer (born February 1, 1947) is an American administrator and Democratic politician from the U.S. state of Alaska. She served as the seventh Lieutenant Governor of Alaska from 1994 to 2002 under governor Tony Knowles, becoming the first female elected to statewide office in Alaska. She later served as the chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage.


Frances Ann Ulmer was born in Madison, Wisconsin and grew up in Horicon, Wisconsin to a couple who owned the only funeral home in the area. Her education included a bachelor's degree in economics and political science and culminated in a law degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Ulmer worked with Jay Hammond, the Republican governor from 1975 through 1981. She served as mayor of Juneau from 1983 to 1985 and in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1987 to 1994 as a Democrat.

From 1993 to 1994 she served as the House Minority Leader.

From 1994 to 2002 she served as Lieutenant Governor under Governor Tony Knowles (D).

In 2002, she was nominated by the Democratic party for the office of governor. She lost the election to the Republican candidate, U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski.

In 2004, she accepted a teaching job at the University of Alaska ending speculation of her candidacy for governor in 2006.

In March 2007, University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton appointed Fran Ulmer as the University of Alaska Anchorage interim chancellor. In April 2008, Ulmer accepted the position of Chancellor on a permanent basis. On January 22, 2010, Ulmer announced her intent to resign from the Chancellor position at the University of Alaska Anchorage effective in 2011.[1]

In June 2010, President Obama appointed Fran Ulmer to the seven member National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The commission is charged with investigating the causes of the explosion and oil spill, and recommending changes to prevent future disasters. Ulmer served on this voluntary commission and retained her duties as chancellor of UAA until her retirement in June 2011.[2]

Political experience[edit]

Ulmer spent 30 years in public service at the local, state and national level. She served in elective office for eighteen years, as the Mayor of Juneau, as a state representative and as Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, where she became a nationally recognized leader in election reform (Alaska became the first state to replace the punched card system with an optical scanning ballot counting system) and making government more efficient and accessible through telecommunications. As a legislator she sponsored and obtained passage of legislation concerning criminal justice, education, public administration, health, transportation and other areas. In her final term she served as House Minority Leader. She served as Director of Policy Development for the State of Alaska, managing diverse programs, including coastal management, intergovernmental coordination, and public participation initiatives. At the national level, Ulmer served as a member of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, the Federal Communications Commission’s State and Local Advisory Committee, and the Federal Elections Commissions Committee. She earned a J.D. cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Electoral history[edit]

  • Alaska House of Representatives, District 4, Seat B, 1986
    • Fran Ulmer (D), 7,957 (66.5%)
    • Leslie E. "Red" Swanson (R), 3,928 (32.8%)
    • write-in votes, 64 (0.5%)
  • Alaska House of Representatives, District 4, Seat B, 1988
    • Fran Ulmer (D), 6,916 (57.6%)
    • Paul Fletcher (R), 5,060 (42.1%)
    • write-in votes, 21 (0.1%)
  • Alaska House of Representatives, District 4, Seat B, 1990
    • Fran Ulmer (D), 8,564 (70.3%)
    • Cathy Crawford (R), 3,555 (29.1%)
    • write-in votes, 60 (0.4%)
  • Alaska House of Representatives, District 3, 1992
    • Fran Ulmer (D), 5,210 (69.8%)
    • Dale Anderson (R), 2,233 (29.9%)
    • write-in votes, 19 (0.2%)
  • Alaska lieutenant governor primary, 1994[3]
    • Jack Alleman (A), 2,173 (3.6%)
    • Roger Lewis (G), 3,570 (5.8%)
    • Bill Sabo (D), 5,771 (9.4%)
    • Tom Staudenmaier (A), 2,831 (4.6%)
    • Fran Ulmer (D), 40,442 (66.1%)
    • Margaret Ward (A), 6,356 (10.4%)
  • Alaska gubernatorial election, 2002
    • Frank Murkowski (R), 129,279 (55.85%)
    • Fran Ulmer (D), 94,216 (40.70%)
    • Diane E. Benson (G), 2,926 (1.26%)
    • Don Wright (A), 2,926 (0.94%)
    • Raymond VinZant (RM), 1,506 (0.65%)
    • Billy Toien (L), 1,109 (0.48%)
    • Write-ins, 263 (0.11%)


  1. ^[dead link]
  2. ^ "President Obama names Chancellor Fran Ulmer to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill". 14 June 2010. Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. Retrieved June 16, 2010. 
  3. ^ Due to ballot access issues raised by the Republican Party of Alaska, this was an open primary for all recognized political parties with the sole exception of the Republicans.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Overstreet
Mayor of Juneau
Succeeded by
Ernest Polley
Preceded by
Jack Coghill
Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Loren Leman
Party political offices
Preceded by
Max Gruenberg
Leader of the Democratic Party in the Alaska House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Jerry Mackie
Preceded by
Willie Hensley
Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
1994, 1998
Succeeded by
Ernie Hall
Preceded by
Tony Knowles
Democratic nominee for Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Tony Knowles
Alaska House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ramona Barnes
Minority Leader of the Alaska House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Jerry Mackie