August 1, 2019

Senate Decades Series 1980s Senator Walter Baker

Elected to the Maryland Senate in 1978, Senator Walter Baker represented Maryland’s Upper Eastern Shore including Cecil, Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot Counties from 1979 until 2003 including the entirety of the decade that was the 1980s.

A native son of Cecil County, Baker was born in Port Deposit in 1927. Ultimately a lawyer by profession, his was a true story of living the American Dream. A graduate of Perryville High School in 1944, he would work as a Clerk for the Maryland State Police, a Coca-Cola Salesman, and as an automobile mechanic before enlisting to serve in the United States Army in 1950.

After serving as a staff sergeant in the Army, Baker would be discharged in 1953 and pursue a college education via the GI Bill. He’d earn a bachelor’s degree from Washington College in Chestertown and then his education would culminate with a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1960.

He’d quickly put his law degree to work starting a legal practice and seeking elected office as the State’s Attorney for Cecil County in 1961. His attempt at elected office would prove successful and he’d serve as State’s Attorney for four years until returning to private practice in 1965.

Baker would take a hiatus from public service to build a successful legal career throughout the late 1960s and the majority of the 1970s. He’d return to elected office in 1979 after successfully winning election to the Maryland State Senate in the 1978 elections. His time in the Senate would prove extremely effective as he’d quickly ascend the committee ranks to become Chairman of the powerful Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in 1987 replacing then newly-elected Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.

Known for his toughness but fairness, Baker would chair the Judicial Proceedings Committee from 1987 until he left the Senate in 2003. Conservative and thoughtful, Baker would be known for staying closely attuned to the interests of those who sent him to Annapolis. A true Eastern Shoreman, Baker never forgot where he came from or the values that he held to be true.

Upon Baker’s passing in 2003, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. stated to the Baltimore Sun: “Walter was a lifelong Democrat. He was from a large family with a great sense of values. He was conservative, and loved the Eastern Shore and reflected its conservative values.”

Baker clearly proved a strong and principled voice for the Senate in the decade of transformation that was the 1980s.

Share this post online