Frances "Fran" Ulmer (born February 1, 1947) is an American administrator who served as the first female Lieutenant Governor of Alaska from 1994 to 2002.
Ulmer was born 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.
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. Fran Ulmer will serve on this voluntary commission and retain her duties as chancellor of UAA until her retirement in June 2011.
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.
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