Tonette Walker

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Tonette Walker
Tonette Walker speaks during Scott Walkers 2016 Presidential campaign announcement.jpg
First Lady of Wisconsin
Assumed role
January 3, 2011
GovernorScott Walker
Preceded byJessica Doyle
Succeeded byKathy Evers (designate)
Personal details
Tonette Marie Tarantino

(1955-10-19) October 19, 1955 (age 63)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Scott Walker (1993–present)
ResidenceGovernor's Mansion

Tonette Marie Tarantino Walker (born October 19, 1955) is the First Lady of Wisconsin, serving alongside her husband, Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker.

Early life and family[edit]

Tonette Marie Tarantino was born on October 19, 1955, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,[1] the daughter of Geraldine Marie (Minorik) and Anthony "Tony" Tarantino.[2][3] Her father's family was Sicilian. She spent more than 20 years employed in the insurance industry before working for the American Diabetes Association. She was raised Catholic.[4]

First Lady of Wisconsin[edit]

Walker embraces her husband Scott Walker, 2015

In her capacity as the First Lady of Wisconsin, Walker works in partnership with various foundations and non-profit organizations to better recognize, understand, and address the effects of trauma on the lives of children and families in Wisconsin. Walker also works regularly with Teen Challenge of Wisconsin, a faith-based organization dedicated to the healing and rehabilitation of teens and young adults with substance abuse addictions.[5]

In response to the devastating Japanese tsunami and earthquakes of 2011, Walker spearheaded the Wisconsin-Chiba Japan Relief Project, an ongoing effort to provide financial assistance to Japan.[6]

In 2011, Walker launched a monthly "Walk with Walker" event on local trails in the State of Wisconsin in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism to feature the natural scenery and beauty of the state. Walker also presents a Wisconsin Heroes Award each month. The award goes to a resident who voluntarily devotes his or her time and energy to a non-profit organization or cause.[7]

During the 2012 Wisconsin recall effort, Walker frequently gave speeches[8] and delivered messages in support of her husband,[9] telling supporters not to be ruled by anger, assuring them that Republican reforms were working, and thanking them for their support.[10] She received threats during that time on her life and the lives of her husband and sons.[11][12][13]

In August 2012, Walker met with First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama prior to Michelle Obama's visit with the family members of the victims and those seriously injured in the shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek.[14][15]

Walker works in the development department for the American Lung Association.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Walker married her first husband when she was 23, but he died of kidney disease by the time she was 30. Five years after her first husband's death, she was at a karaoke night at Saz's State House restaurant when she first met Scott Walker, 12 years her junior.[17] She and Walker wed in 1993 and are parents to two sons, Matt and Alex.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "BRAVA Magazine>Profiles>0111 Jessica Doyle & Tonette Walker". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  2. ^ "Anthony "Tony" Tarantino obituary". Journal-Sentinel. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. April 4, 2013.
  3. ^ "Geraldine Marie Colletti obituary". Church and Chapel. May 20, 2005.
  4. ^ Jordan, Mary (July 5, 2015). "Scott Walker's wife, toughened by life, is ready for fires of a campaign". The Washington Post.
  5. ^ "Tonette Tarantino Walker (Wisconsin)". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  6. ^ "Tonette Walker Talks About Transition To State's First Lady". YouTube. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  7. ^ "Walk With Walker". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  8. ^ "Thousands Rally To Support Gov. Walker Amid Recall Fight". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  9. ^ "Tonette Walker: Winner of the Margaret Thatcher Award". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  10. ^ "Waukesha Patch on Twitter: "Tonette Walker thanks crowd for thoughts, prayers and support in recall election last year."". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  11. ^ Becket Adams. "Read the Chilling Note Sent to Gov. Scott Walker's Wife". The Blaze. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  12. ^ Bill Glauber. "Tonette Walker, GOP leaders rally governor's supporters". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  13. ^ Lacey Crisp. "One-on-One with Wisconsin's first lady Tonette Walker". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  14. ^ "First Lady Tonette Walker Meets With First Lady Michelle Obama - Office of the Governor - Scott Walker". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  15. ^ "Wisconsin's first lady meets with first lady Michelle Obama -". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  16. ^ "About First Lady Walker - First Lady of Wisconsin". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  17. ^ Emer Hughes. "Tonette Walker, Scott's Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know -". Retrieved November 10, 2014.

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Jessica Doyle
First Lady of Wisconsin