David Walters

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David Walters
David Walters.jpg
24th Governor of Oklahoma
In office
January 14, 1991 – January 9, 1995
LieutenantJack Mildren
Preceded byHenry Bellmon
Succeeded byFrank Keating
Personal details
David Lee Walters

(1951-11-20) November 20, 1951 (age 68)
Canute, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Oklahoma (BS)
Harvard University (MBA)

David Lee Walters (born November 20, 1951) is an American politician who was the 24th governor of Oklahoma from 1991 to 1995.

Born in Canute, Oklahoma, Walters was a project manager for Governor David Boren and the youngest executive officer working for the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He also worked in commercial real estate. As governor, he increased education funding, but his term was marred by controversies that ended with him pleading guilty to a misdemeanor election violation. He did not seek re-election and was defeated in a 2002 campaign for the United States Senate.

Early life[edit]

Walters was born near Canute, Oklahoma, and graduated as valedictorian from Canute High School in 1969.[1] He earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1973 and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University in 1977.[1]

He worked as the project manager for Governor David Boren and as the assistant and associate provost of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. At the age of 29, he was the youngest executive officer in the university’s history. In 1982, he joined The Burks Group, a commercial real estate company. He was appointed co-chairman of the governor's 100-member Reform Commission in 1984 and became the president of American Fidelity Property Company in 1985.

Governor of Oklahoma[edit]

In 1986, Walters was the Democratic nominee for governor of Oklahoma, but was defeated by Republican Henry L. Bellmon, who returned to the governorship after completing his first term 20 years earlier.

On November 6, 1990 Walters was elected governor, carrying 75 of the state’s 77 counties. During his term education funding increased by approximately 30 percent and a $350 million bond issue for higher education brought construction and renovation to every state college campus.

Walters planned on making the Blue Room, a large ceremonial hall in the State Capitol, into his office.[2]

While in office he was accused of election violations in that he conspired to hide $18,000 dollars in campaign donations by attributing them to someone else. At the end of procedures, Governor Walters asked prosecutors what they wanted to end the rather lengthy process. An agreement was reached that the governor would plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense and pay a fine, in return for which his record would be expunged in twelve months. Though Walters claimed his innocence of the charges, he said it was in the best interest of the state and his family to accept the plea agreement. Twelve months later the charge was expunged from his record.[3][4] He did not run for re-election in 1994.[4]


  • Secretary of State - John Kennedy (1991-1995)
  • Secretary of Agriculture - Gary Sherrer (1991–1995)
  • Secretary of Education - Sandy Garrett (1991–1995)
  • Secretary of Energy - Charles R. Nesbitt (1991–1995)
  • Secretary of Human Resources - James Thomas (1991), Oscar B. Jackson Jr. (1991–1995)
  • Secretary of Safety and Security - Robert Fitzpatrick (1991–1995)
  • Secretary of Transportation - Delmas Ford (1991-1995)
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs - John Willis (1991-1995)

Senate campaign[edit]

In 2002, Walters was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate, but was defeated by incumbent Jim Inhofe.[5]


  1. ^ a b Burke, Bob. "Walters, David Lee (1951- ) Archived 2013-11-05 at the Wayback Machine," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History. (accessed July 18, 2013)
  2. ^ Walters plans to convert Blue Room into his office, Newsok.com, January 10, 1991 (accessed April 6, 2013)
  3. ^ [1] | Oklahoma Historical Society | Walters, David Lee (1951-) | [2]
  4. ^ a b "Guilty governor won't run". Milwaukee Sentinel. 1993-11-02. p. 2.
  5. ^ "Senate Race Results". Fox News Channel. 2002-11-06. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
Party political offices
Preceded by
George Nigh
Democratic nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
1986, 1990
Succeeded by
Jack Mildren
Preceded by
John Waiheʻe
Chair of the Democratic Governors Association
Succeeded by
Evan Bayh
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Bellmon
Governor of Oklahoma
Succeeded by
Frank Keating