Advertisement

Controversial former Illinois Gov. Dan Walker dead at 92

By Andrew V. Pestano
Controversial former Illinois Gov. Dan Walker dead at 92
Former Gov. of Illinois Dan Walker served from 1973 to 1977. He died on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at the age of 92. Photo Courtesy of Environmental Protection Agency.

CHULA VISTA, Calif., April 30 (UPI) -- Former Gov. of Illinois Dan Walker, who was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud and perjury, died on Wednesday at the age of 92.

Walker, a Democrat, served as governor from 1973 to 1977 after winning the election as an underdog -- upsetting the political elite. He gained attention in his campaign by walking 1,197 miles across Illinois and personally greeting voters.

Advertisement

Walker led a difficult single term as governor, as he was unable to fulfill campaign promises. In the following election, an ongoing feud with Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley led to Walker losing the Democratic primary to Illinois Secretary of State Michael Howlett, who was defeated by Republican James Thompson by a wide margin.

Walker alienated both Republicans and his fellow Democrats. He blamed the political establishment for blocking his legislation during his tenure.

RELATED Japanese prime minister spotlights new defense pact before Congress

"He fervently believed in the power of democracy and the importance of including everyone in our democracy," Former Gov. of Illinois Pat Quinn, who was defeated last fall after six years, said in a statement. "He loved his family and leaves behind many friends. His patriotism, service and compassion will never be forgotten."

Advertisement

Although Walker was unable to pass much legislation, he managed to authorize the Illinois Lottery and the Regional Transportation Authority.

He went on to live a lavish lifestyle as the head of a suburban Chicago savings and loan business. He pleaded guilty to fraud and perjury charges in 1987 and spent nearly 18 months in federal prison.

RELATED Washington Post reporter possibly asked to spy on Iran, minister says

He left Illinois after prison because he felt "shame."

"I also really felt I let a lot of people down," he said in a 1993 interview. "I did wrong. I wanted to admit that and go forward."

Dan Jr., Walker's son, confirmed his death. He died in his California home in Chula Vista.

RELATED Baltimore mayor apologizes for 'thugs' comment

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement