Back to former Oklahoma governors
David Lee Walters

Gov. David Lee Walters

  • January 14, 1991 - January 9, 1995
  • Democratic
  • November 20, 1951
  • Oklahoma
  • University of Oklahoma; Harvard University
  • Married Rhonda Smith; three children


DAVID LEE WALTERS was born and raised on a farm near Canute, Oklahoma. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University in 1975. He began his career at the University of Oklahoma as a management systems and projects administrator. In 1976 he served as a project manager in the administration of then-Governor David Boren. From 1977 to 1982 he worked in the University of Oklahoma Health Services Center, where he rose to position of Associate Provost, becoming the youngest executive officer in the university’s history. He later became President of the Burks Group, a commercial real estate company, and President of American Fidelity Property Company. In 1983 he was appointed to the governing commission for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, of which he became Chair. In 1984 he was appointed Co-Chair of the 100-member Governor’s Commission on Government Reform. During his single term as governor, education funding increased by nearly one-third, and a $350 million bond issue for higher education brought construction and renovation to every state college campus. Walters also chaired the Democratic Governors’ Association. While in office, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor election violation and chose not to run for reelection. Walters sought, but failed to win a U.S. Senate seat in 2000.


Oklahoma Governors Since Statehood

Governors of the American States, Commonwealths and Territories. National Governors Association, 1994.

Who’s Who in America, 1995. New Providence, NJ: Marquis’ Who’s Who, 1994.

Recent Oklahoma Governors