An early 70s icon in Illinois Politics has died.
Former Governor Dan Walker has passed away at the age of 92 at his California home. Walker biographer Taylor Pensoneau, who was part of the Statehouse press corps during Walker's days on the campaign trail and in office reflects on Walker's political roller coaster ride.
The colorful populist created a legend on the campaign trail by walking nearly 1200 miles on the campaign trail in 1971. While some conspiracy theorists question that legend, Pensoneau, saw first hand the toll Walker's trek through Illinois had on him.
Walker did leave his mark though, signing the bill creating the state lottery, making deep cuts in the state payroll, cracking down on welfare cheats and opening state jobs and contracts to minorities.
Daley exacted revenge in 1976 when his favored candidate, Secretary of State Michael Howlett, defeated Walker in the Democratic Primary. Howlett would go on to defeat at the hands of Jim Thompson.
Like other Illinois Governors, Walker found himself in prison, but in his case it was tied to his actions after he left office and in the private sector.
In 1987 he was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining $1.4 million in bank loans. He served less than a year and a half.
Governor Bruce Rauner issued the following statement on the death of former Governor Dan Walker: “Diana and I are saddened to learn of the passing of former Governor Dan Walker. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”