WALTER WALFRED JOHNSON, Colorado’s 32nd governor was born in Pueblo, Colorado, on April 16, 1904. He was educated in Pueblo’s public school system, and worked in construction, real estate, and the insurance industry before entering politics. In 1937 he was elected to Pueblo’s school board and served as chair from 1939 to 1943. He also served in the Colorado State Senate from 1941 to 1949, and was Colorado’s lieutenant governor from 1949 to 1950. Governor William L. Knous resigned from office in April 1950, and Johnson, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the governor’s office. During his short tenure, he fought against the attempts to raise the state income tax and severance tax on oil, and he was influential in reducing the state income tax. Plans were inaugurated for a modern system of highways, teacher salaries increased, and appropriations were provided to advertise the state tourism industry. Johnson ran unsuccessfully for the governor’s office in 1950, and left office after completing the remainder of Knous’s term. He served again in the state senate from 1951 to 1959, was a commissioner on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, and was appointed in 1962 to the State Industrial Commission. Governor Walter W. Johnson died on March 23, 1987, and is buried in Pueblo.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.