Toni Edmonds Walker is a seasoned social activist and advocate for youth, education, and human rights. Having resided in New Haven for most of her child and adult life, Toni has deep roots at Dixwell Congregation where her father, the late Rev. Dr. Edwin R. Edmonds, was the pastor and her mother, the late Maye Bailey Edmonds, was head of the Women's Group. There, Toni worked as both a fundraiser and the Director of the Dixwell Children's Creative Arts Center - a children's inner city program for arts and music. While managing The Arts Center and raising a daughter alone, she continued her baccalaureate education at Southern Connecticut State University and received a Master's Degree in Social Work at Fordham University.
As a state representative, Toni serves as House Chair of the Appropriations Committee and is also a member of the Judiciary Committee. She is a former House chair of the Human Services Committee as well. Rep. Walker also created and chaired both the Juvenile Jurisdiction Planning and Implementation Committee and the Juvenile Jurisdiction Policy and Operations Coordinating Council. She is also an active member of the Financial Advisory Council, serving as Speaker Donovan's appointee. In addition, Rep. Walker has been appointed to serve on several policy committees by legislative forums; including the National Conference of State Legislatures as Vice-Chair of the Human Services Committee, and the Council of State Governments as Vice Chair of the ERC Criminal Justice Advisory Board and Chair of the ERC Budget & Tax Committee. The Council of State Governments also once recognized Rep. Walker as a Tolls Fellow.
Furthermore, Rep. Walker is dedicated to the CT Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and is a member of the Adolescent Parenting Council, Local Interagency Service Team, Domestic Violence Legislative Task Force, Commission on Children, Medicaid Care Management Oversight Council, Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council, TANF Council, Children in the Recession Legislative Task Force, and Task Force on Community-Based Human Services.
For several years, Rep. Walker has committed herself to juvenile reform in Connecticut beginning with raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction. During the 2006 and 2007 legislative sessions, Representative Walker introduced and championed legislation that would allow for 16 and 17 year-olds to be considered juveniles in the eyes of Connecticut courts. This is a monumental step in the direction of lowering recidivism rates and increasing opportunities for troubled youth to become active and upstanding citizens.
When she is not in Hartford, Toni is in district serving as Vice Principal and Coordinator of Special Services and Grants at New Haven Adult Education, where she plays an instrumental role in developing, designing and implementing community-based programs. In her downtime, Toni likes to reconnect with her most important commitment: her family. She is a devoted wife to Donald Walker and loving mother and step-mother to Talia Aikens-Nunez and Tiffany Beech. Most importantly though, Toni is a proud grandmother to Isabella and baby Nyles!