The folksy charm that is Kent Hance's public persona has served him well as a lawyer, lawmaker and now Texas Tech chancellor.
It masks a tough-dealing mind that has taken many by surprise. The first may have been George W. Bush, who suffered his only political loss to Hance in a run for the 19th Congressional District in 1978. Hance pilloried Bush as an outsider with an Ivy League education. Some say the defeat so shocked Bush that he altered his own image to "country boy."
Tech regents sought him out for the same skills. They needed a well-connected fundraiser who could improve the university's image while serving as a no-nonsense administrator.
The Dimmitt native attended Tech and served as vice president of the student body. He received his law degree from the University of Texas, where he served as president of the student bar association and class president.
He returned to Lubbock to practice and teach business law at Tech.
Hance's political career began in 1974, when he defeated a heavily favored incumbent to become the state senator from the Lubbock area.
He rose through the political ranks quickly, named to serve on the Senate Finance Committee as a freshman, an unusual appointment for a young legislator.
He brought home funding for local projects like the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and an ambition for Washington, D.C.
Four years later, Hance won the 19th Congressional District race as a Democrat.
During his first week in Washington, he was named chairman of the Freshman Caucus, and was later named Best Freshman Congressman by Texas Business Magazine.
Hance was one of a handful of conservative Southern Democrats to be named to the House Agriculture Committee. In his second term he was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee over the objections of Republicans.
In 1981, Hance joined nine conservative Democrats who broke ranks and supported President Ronald Reagan's budget proposal. Hance co-authored Reagan-favored legislation which provided the largest tax break in the nation's history.
Democratic leaders were infuriated, but Hance was picking up big allies on the Republican side.
"Hance passed some significant legislation for Reagan, and I think they were great friends," said mentor and political consultant Otice Green.
His bid for statewide office in 1984 was his last as a Democrat. Hance surprised observers by losing to Congressman Lloyd Doggett in a runoff election to replace Sen. John Tower by less than 1,500 votes - earlier polls had shown Hance much farther behind.
He switched parties in 1985, ahead of a coming shift in Texas politics.
In 1987, Gov. Bill Clements appointed Hance to the Texas Railroad Commission. In November 1988, he was elected as the first Republican ever to serve on the commission.
He traveled to London in 1988 to meet with the head of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to discuss stabilizing the price of oil. State and Energy Department officials objected, and industry analysts called the trip "a joke." Months later, and after repeat visits, OPEC committed to maintaining a stable price per barrel and created a committee to monitor production quotas.
In 1990 returned to law, as partner with the law and lobbying firm of Hance, Scarborough, and Wright in Austin.
In 2006, Texas Tech system regents named Hance as chancellor. They wanted someone comfortable in powerful and humble circles to bring money to the university and advance their causes at state and national levels.
He has set a goal of growing Tech to 40,000 students.
John T. Montford
John Montford's climb up the professional ladder began largely on the prosecutorial side of the legal profession. The reputation he developed would serve him well in his path to loftier positions.
As Lubbock County's District Attorney he earned the label of "Maximum John" for his aggressive prosecution and the lengthy terms he sought in sentencing.
He carried that same determination into his five years as Texas Tech's chancellor.
The Fort Worth native earned his law degree in 1968 from the University of Texas.
During service in the U. S. Marine Corps, Montford served as judge advocate, military judge and company commander. After discharge he opened a private practice in Lubbock.
He was elected district attorney in 1978 and served only four years. But he gained a statewide reputation as a hard-nosed, tough-on-crime prosecutor.
Montford was elected to the Texas Senate in 1982, and he would hold that seat until 1996. He climbed into leadership quickly. During the 69th Legislative Session, he authored the Statewide Water Package, which was overwhelmingly approved by Texas voters in November 1985.
He also served as chair of the State Affairs Committee and the Senate Finance Committee and was a member of the Natural Resources Committee, Legislative Budget Board and Legislative Audit Committee.
Texas Monthly named Montford among its Top 10 Best Legislators for five legislative sessions.
When Tech's regents sought out their first chancellor in 1996, they turned to Montford.
His footprint is a master fundraiser, having secured a half billion dollars in three years. During his tenure, the number of research and graduate programs increased at Tech, propelling the university closer to the nation's top tier of public institutions.
The Horizon Campaign began in February 1998 with a goal to raise $300 million for a wide range of university improvements. It reached $500 million.
Many new facilities, including the United Spirit Arena, renovations to Jones/SBC Stadium and expansions and additions of several academic buildings occurred or began during his tenure.
"Texas Tech is an extremely good institution, and it has been for a long time," said then-university President David Schmidly. "But ... compared to our brethren in the eastern part of the state, maybe we didn't have the same level of ambition and confidence. ... John changed that. ... John also showed us all something about style and how to get things done."
From Tech, Montford moved on to his eighth professional occupation. He joined Southwestern Bell in a lobbying capacity and in 2005, after a merger with AT&T now is senior vice president-western region legislative and regulatory affairs for the company.
He has established himself as an active member of the San Antonio community, home to AT&T, already having headed fund-raisers that have brought millions of dollars to local civic and educational endeavors.
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