After 33 years of holding politicians to account while at The Sacramento Bee, Dan Walters will write a farewell column on Sunday.
Walters called it like it is at the Capitol through the terms of five California governors: George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown – both times.
He has written more than 9,000 columns about California and its politics, and his column has appeared in newspapers throughout the state.
“To say it is the end of an era is an understatement,” said Bee Political Editor Amy Chance. “In the Capitol Bureau, we’ll miss his institutional memory, his stories about state politicians and his generosity with his time and his files. He promises we can call whenever we want.”
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Walters, 73, has been a journalist for nearly 57 years, all but a few of them spent at California newspapers.
He began his professional career in 1960, at age 16, at the Humboldt Times in Eureka while he was still in high school. He turned down a National Merit scholarship to continue working as a journalist.
At one point in his career, at age 22, he was the nation’s youngest daily newspaper editor. The Hanford Sentinel was the first of three newspaper editor positions he held before joining the Sacramento Union’s Capitol Bureau in 1975, just as Jerry Brown began his first term as governor.
He later became the Union’s Capitol bureau chief, and in 1981 began writing the state’s only daily newspaper column devoted to California political, economic and social events.
In 1984, he and the column moved to The Sacramento Bee.
“While Dan Walters has been a must read in the capital for decades, he also has loyal readers throughout California,” said Bee Executive Editor Joyce Terhaar. “Outside The Bee he is known for his insight and tough stance with politicians. Within The Bee he is also respected as a journalist who comes to play every day, who insists on writing far more than the average columnist, and who pitches in wherever help is needed. He has been a great colleague and we will miss him.”
Walters also has written about California and its politics for a number of other publications, including The Wall Street Journal and the Christian Science Monitor.
In 1986, Walters’ book, “The New California: Facing the 21st Century,” was published in its first edition.
He also is the founding editor of the “California Political Almanac,” the co-author of a book on lobbying entitled “The Third House: Lobbyists, Money and Power in Sacramento,” and contributed chapters to two other books, “Remaking California” and “The New Political Geography of California.
He also has been a frequent guest on national television and radio news shows. He plans to continue writing about California politics.