ST. LOUIS – Cora Faith Walker, a former Missouri state representative and then a top aide to St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, died Friday (March 11, 2022) at the age of 37.
Walker was the chief policy advisor to Page. She had served in the state legislature in 2017-2019 as a Democrat representing the 74th District, which encompasses parts of both north St. Louis and north St. Louis County.
Walker, who lived in Ferguson, was reported to have died early Friday of an unspecified health problem.
She was known as a strong advocate and activist for health care and reproductive rights.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, a close friend of Walker, tweeted: “Today our region and the world lost a giant. It’s not often in life that we find friends that become members of our family. I am so grateful to have had a sister in Cora. Her light and her energy is something she shared with many of us. She made it her mission to help others.”
Earlier Friday, Jones’ office noted: “She was a fixture in the St. Louis region, a powerful advocate for her community, and a fiercely loyal friend to all who knew and loved her, especially to Mayor Jones. We extend our deepest condolences to her family and colleagues.”
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Cora Faith Walker,” County Executive Sam Page stated.
“Cora walked into my office every day with a hundred ideas and the determination to do them. She was a passionate public servant who advocated for women, newborns, survivors of sexual violence, reproductive rights, seniors, and frontline health care workers. She will be greatly missed by her St. Louis County government colleagues and me.”
St. Louis 6th Ward Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, in a tweet, called Walker “a force to be reckoned with.” Walker, the alderwoman said, was “insanely intelligent, gregarious, feisty in the best way, a hell of a good time, a true friend. … Love you always.”
Other area and state lawmakers and activists added their encomiums.
“We are devastated to learn of Cora Faith Walker’s passing,” the Missouri Democratic Party said in a tweet. “She was a perfect example of a dedicated public servant who deeply cared for the St. Louis community. We’ve lost someone very special and too soon.”
“We are all shocked and heartbroken at the sudden loss of an incredible friend and a brilliant advocate for so many,” House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said in a statement. “Cora Faith will be remembered as a fighter and a person who dedicated her life to making the world better.”
Walker was elected to the Missouri House in November 2016 and re-elected in 2018. She pushed for the expansion of Medicaid and for greater equity in health care and was a vocal defender of women’s reproductive rights.
“God has called this glorious and amazing warrior home,” Pamela Merritt, executive director of Medical Students for Choice and a board member of NARAL Pro Choice Missouri, said in a tweet. “I am devastated, but find comfort in knowing she has been welcomed by the ancestors with song and joy.”
Before she joined the House, in September 2016, Walker accused Missouri Rep. Steven Roberts Jr., D-St. Louis, of raping her. Roberts said they had had consensual sex, and a special prosecutor determined there was not enough evidence otherwise to file criminal charges.
Roberts filed a defamation suit against Walker; she counter-sued Roberts. Both later dropped their lawsuits.