Kent Hance is the chancellor of Texas Tech University System and a former U.S. Congressman.
Hance, born in Dimmitt, Texas, attended Texas Tech and graduated in 1965. In 1968, he earned his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, and he returned to Texas Tech to teach law for the next five years. In 1974, Hance, a Democrat at the time, began his political career when he won a seat in the Texas Senate. He was one of four members who served on both the Finance and State Affairs committees.
He ran for U.S. Congress in 1978 against Republican challenger George W. Bush and gave the future president his only political loss. According to Texas Monthly, the race had a large impact on Bush's political development. Hance was re-elected for two more terms, and maintained a moderate voting record, according to the American Conservative Union rankings.
In 1984, instead of running for the again for Congress he ran for U.S. Senate. Hance narrowly lost the Democratic primary to now U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who in turn lost the general election to now former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm.
Shortly after the loss, Hance switched parties and became a Republican. Republican Governor Bill Clements appointed Hance to the Texas Railroad Commission, and in 1988 Hance was elected to the seat, making him the first Republican to serve on the commission. Hance was elected chairman of the commission in 1989 and stayed on the board until 1990.