Walter Walker (politician)

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For the British general, see Walter Walker (General).
Walter Walker
Senator Walter Walker.jpg
United States Senator
from Colorado
In office
September 26, 1932 – December 6, 1932
Preceded by Charles W. Waterman
Succeeded by Karl C. Schuyler
Chairman of the Colorado Democratic State Committee[1]
In office
September 18, 1930[1] – September 22, 1932[2]
Preceded by Thomas Annear[1]
Succeeded by James A. Marsh[2]
Personal details
Born (1883-04-03)April 3, 1883
Marion, Kentucky
Died October 8, 1956(1956-10-08) (aged 73)
Grand Junction, Colorado
Political party Democratic
Profession Newspaper owner and editor

Walter Walker (April 3, 1883 – October 8, 1956) was a newspaper owner and editor in Colorado who served as Democratic United States Senator in late 1932 after being appointed to fill a vacancy pending a special election.

Early life[edit]

Walker was born in Marion, Kentucky on April 3, 1883.[3] The son of Robert C. Walker, the owner of the Crittenden Press newspaper, Walter Walker was educated locally, and then moved to Colorado in 1903.[3][4]

After settling in Grand Junction, Walker worked in the newspaper business, eventually becoming editor, manager, and chief owner of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.[3] Walker's staff included Dalton Trumbo, whom Walker hired as a reporter in 1920, and employed for four years.[5] In addition to running the newspaper, Walker was a civic activist, and his efforts included management of Grand Junction's successful lyceum.[6]

Political career[edit]

During the 1920s revival of the Ku Klux Klan, Walker was an early member.[7] He subsequently turned against the group, and published editorials in opposition. In September 1925, several local Klan leaders including a deputy sheriff and a police officer assaulted Walker as he walked from the barber shop to his newspaper office.[8] Others on the street eventually intervened, and before leaving to seek medical aid Walker informed the Klan members that physical intimidation would not prevent him from continuing his anti-Klan campaign.[8] In 1924, 1928, and 1932, he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.[9] From 1930 to 1932 he served as chairman of Colorado's Democratic state committee.[1][2]

On September 26, 1932, Walker was appointed to the U.S. Senate, temporarily filling the vacancy caused by the death of Charles W. Waterman.[3] He ran in the special election for the remainder of the term, but was defeated by Republican Karl C. Schuyler.[10] Walker served until December 6, 1932, when Schuyler was sworn in.[11]

Later career[edit]

Walker resumed his work in the newspaper business following the completion of his Senate service.[12] In 1936, he was again a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.[9] Later that year, he was a presidential elector for the ticket of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Nance Garner. In 1940, 1944, 1948, and 1952, he was again a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.[9]

Death and burial[edit]

Walker died in Grand Junction on October 8, 1956.[4] He was interred at Orchard Mesa Cemetery in Grand Junction.[13]

Family[edit]

In November 1903, Walker married Kathie Wood of Kentucky.[3] They were the parents of a son, Preston.[3]

Legacy[edit]

Several Colorado Mesa University facilities are named for Walter Walker, including the soccer field and the reception area at the Moss Performing Arts Center.[14][15]

In recognition of his advocacy for air service to Grand Junction in the early days of commercial aviation, the Grand Junction Regional Airport was named for Walker from 1942 until its 2007 expansion.[16] The airport's terminal, fire station, and Walker Boulevard are all named in his honor.[16]

The Walter Walker State Wildlife Area near Grand Junction is also named for Walker.[17]

In 2008, statues of Walter Walker and his son Preston were installed at 634 Main Street in Grand Junction as part of the Legends of the Grand Valley project created by several local organizations.[18]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

Newspapers[edit]

Books[edit]

Magazines[edit]

Internet[edit]

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
Charles W. Waterman
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Colorado
1932
Succeeded by
Karl C. Schuyler