Lillian Walker (politician)

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Lillian W. Walker
Louisiana State Representative for
East Baton Rouge Parish
In office
1964–1972
Preceded by

Four at-large members:
William F. "Bill" Bernhard, Jr.
Eugene Webb McGehee
A. T. "Apple" Sanders, Jr.

Jack M. Dyer
Succeeded by Clark Gaudin (single-member district)
Personal details
Born (1923-05-08)May 8, 1923
Meridian, Lauderdale County
Mississippi
Died December 22, 2016(2016-12-22) (aged 93)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Resting place Greenoaks Mausoleum in Baton Rouge
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Edward Everett Walker (married c. 1942-1998, his death)
Children

Edward Theodore Walker

Betti Helen Walker Buhler
Parents Rudolph Blanche and Maggie Elizabeth George Walker
Residence Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Occupation

Insurance agent

Political and social activist

Lillian Walker Walker, known as Lillian W. Walker (May 8, 1923 – December 22, 2016),[1] was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, who served two terms from 1964 to 1972,[2] corresponding with the administration of Governor John J. McKeithen, her fellow Democrat.

Biography[edit]

After two terms in the state House, Walker was narrowly unseated in the general election held on February 1, 1972, by the Republican Clark Gaudin, also of Baton Rouge. Gaudin polled 6,949 votes (51 percent) to Walker’s 6,645 (49 percent).[3] Only the fourth Republican in the Louisiana legislature since Reconstruction, Gaudin had served a partial term from 1967 to 1968, having won a special election created by the resignation of Luther F. Cole,[2] who became a judge of the 19th Judicial District Court.

For most of her legislative tenure, Walker was the only woman among the 105 House members. She was the first woman legislator in Louisiana who did not succeed a husband in the office.[1] In 1969, she was joined by Helen L. Laperouse of New Iberia, who followed her late husband, Lionel Laperouse, Jr. And in 1971, Dorothy Mae Taylor of New Orleans became the first African American female representative.[4] Early in her tenure, Walker persuaded Governor McKeithen to establish the Louisiana Commission on the Status of Women.[5]

On November 2, 1982, more than a decade after her state House service ended, Walker was elected to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. For that position, she defeated, 56-44 percent, the long-term Democratic Party chairman, Jesse Bankston, also of Baton Rouge.[6]

A native of Meridian in Lauderdale County in eastern Mississippi, Walker had the maiden name of "Walker" too. Her parents were Rudolph Blanche Walker and the former Maggie Elizabeth George.[1] She was an alternate delegate from Louisiana to the 1960 Democratic National Convention, which met in Los Angeles to nominate the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson ticket,[7] which scored an easy victory in Louisiana over the Republican Richard M. Nixon.

In 1996, Walker was inducted into the Louisiana Center for Women and Government Hall of Fame at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, along with the posthumous recognition of another Baton Rouge political figure, Betty Heitman, co-chairwoman from 1983 to 1987 of the Republican National Committee. In 2002, she was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame based in the Chamber of Commerce office in Winnfield.[8]

Until his death, Walker was married for fifty-six years to Edward E. Walker (1921–1998). She operated an insurance agency in Baton Rouge. Edward Walker had to quit his job to buy the agency, as women were not then allowed to own a business of this kind in Louisiana. The Walkers' daughter, Betti Helen, formerly Betti Herlitz (born June 2, 1952), is married to Malcolm E. "Mac" Buhler (born July 1935). When the Walkers' mentally handicapped son, Edward Theodore "Eddie" Walker (born 1945), was denied entry into the public schools, Mrs. Walker entered the political arena to work for the betterment of the mentally retarded and physically handicapped. Her work led to the creation of the Association for Mentally Retarded Citizens. She pushed for handicapped accessibility in the Louisiana State Capitol and other public buildings. Representative Walker sponsored legislation that created a Women's Division within the Louisiana Department of Labor to foster encouragement of women in the workforce. An advocate for Louisiana State University, she was made an honorary member of the LSU Alumni Association. For her work with special education, Walker received the first honorary state membership in Delta Kappa Gamma, an organization for women educators.[1]

Walker was a charter member in 1956 of the Broadmoor Presbyterian Church at 9340 Florida Boulevard in Baton Rouge; she was the captain of its first building fund in 1957. She died at her home in Baton Rouge at the age of ninety-three. She is entombed at Greenoaks Mausoleum in Baton Rouge.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Lillian W. Walker". The Baton Rouge Advocate. December 26, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2008" (PDF). house.louisiana.gov. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 31, 2010. Retrieved December 21, 2009. 
  3. ^ State of Louisiana, Secretary of State, Election returns for state representative, February 1, 1972
  4. ^ "Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus". llwc.louisiana.gov. Archived from the original on January 26, 2010. Retrieved December 22, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Janet Allured, "Timeline of women's movement in Louisiana"" (PDF). wowull.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 18, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Louisiana general election returns, November 2, 1982". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Index to Politicians, Walker, K-N". politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved December 22, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame". cityofwinnfield.com. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Four at-large members

William F. "Bill" Bernhard, Jr.
Eugene Webb McGehee
A. T. "Apple" Sanders, Jr.
Jack M. Dyer

Louisiana State Representative for East Baton Rouge Parish

Lillian Walker Walker
1964–1972

Succeeded by
Clark Gaudin