Unless and until another Utah woman wins a statewide or federal election, the issues of gender and legacy will remain inexorably intertwined for Walker. Asked to define her own political legacy as Utah's only female governor, her initial response included enthusiasm that a "viable candidate" like House Speaker Becky Lockhart is reportedly mulling gubernatorial aspirations. Then, though, Walker's tone changed course.
"I think there's still some mentality that women aren't capable of serving in those offices," Walker confessed. "I still think there's some concern, and there are some opinions that it's a man's job and only when they don't find a capable man to fill the role will they consider a woman. I think it's tradition that slowly will change, but I'm not certain it's changed sufficiently for a woman to be elected (governor).
"I hope I made some difference. … I hope I'm remembered as a person that cared about Utah and its future. I never felt I was a politician — and that may be naive, but I felt my focus was always on improving the state."
426: days Olene Walker served as Utah governor
1: female governors in Utah's history
5: states with no woman in Congress or statewide office (Ga., Miss., Nebr., Utah, Va.)
80: Walker's age today
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