Danielle Walker will take on the role of executive director for the ACLU of West Virginia in mid-April
Walker is leaving the state Legislature, which she has represented since 2018, for the local ACLU chapter.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
Danielle Walker, vice chair of the West Virginia Democratic Party and member of the House of Delegates, is leaving the state Legislature to become the executive director of the ACLU West Virginia, starting on April 17.
She submitted her formal letter of resignation on April 10.
“It is with a heavy heart that I pen these words, but I do so with a sense of purpose and conviction. While this decision has not come easily, it is the result of much soul-searching and prayer, as I have sought to discern the path that God has set before me,” she wrote.
Walker’s hiring was announced during the ACLU West Virginia’s annual Bill of Rights dinner at the beginning of the month.
Her predecessor, Joseph Cohen, left the organization in December 2022. The organization's advocacy director, Eli Baumwell has been the acting executive director.
Walker has represented Monongalia County since 2018. Another Democrat from the county will be appointed by the governor to take over the remainder of her term. This will include one full legislative session. Recommendations can be made by the county’s Democratic Executive committee.
Walker was the legislature’s only Black and openly LGBTQ+ member. She is also the only one who has spoken publicly about having an abortion. While in the legislature, Walker has protested bans on gender-affirming care and abortion.
This past February, she gave a speech against the gender-affirming care ban that had just been passed, while draped in a transgender pride flag.
Walker told AP News, “I’ll still be in the chamber. Just in a different seat.”
During her time as a delegate, Walker sponsored many progressive bills. This is legislation that would remove abortion restrictions and the CROWN Act on a state level. She was targeted for her stances in various ways by conservatives.
They blocked all of the over 60 bills she sponsored from making it past committee in this current session.
Last year, she was sent an email from the then president of an anti-abortion group, Richard Demoske, which contained an image of a KKK member giving the Nazi salute. In the message Demoske compared Walker to the Klan member because of her aforementioned abortion bill. He resigned as president of Berkeley County West Virginians for Life after Walker shared the message and filed a lawsuit against the organization.
Addressing her constituents while talking to The Dominion Post, Walker said of her departure, “I am not abandoning anyone, I am just going to another level where I can, as an organization with staff and support, continue to do my job in a different capacity. I appreciate each and every one of you.”
The ACLU of West Virginia helps “fulfill the promise of the Bill of Rights for all West Virginians and expand the reach of its guarantees to new areas.”
They also work to extend rights to historically marginalized groups that have been denied them, including people of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community.