Walter Rayford Tucker III is best known for his brief periodas a Southern California Congressman. Tucker was born in Compton,California on May 28, 1957 to awell established political family. Hisfather, Walter Tucker II, worked as a dentist and then entered politics in Compton in 1967 when hewas elected to the Compton School Board. Walter Tucker II became Mayor of Compton in 1970. Tucker"s mother, Martha, was a writer andreal estate agent.
Young Walter Tucker graduated from ComptonHigh School in 1974 and then attended Princeton Universityfor two years before finishing his undergraduate education at the University of SouthernCalifornia in LosAngeles in 1978. Tucker earned his J.D. at Georgetown University LawSchool in 1981. Afterworking briefly in private practice in Compton,Tucker served as a deputy district attorney for Los Angeles Countybetween 1984 and 1986. During this timeTucker became an ordained minister at the Bread of Life Christian Center in Carson, California. He also married Robin Marie and the couplehad two children, Walter Rayford IV and Autumn.
When Walter Tucker II died of cancer during his third termas Compton"smayor, younger Tucker ran for the mayor"s post and won the special election onApril 16, 1991. Tucker at 34 became thecity"s youngest mayor. Walter Tucker III, however, presided over a differentcity than his father had known. Once a bustlingeconomic center of the Southern California oilindustry which could claim President George H.W. Bush as a former resident, bythe 1980s the town had experienced economic decline, growing poverty, andrising tensions between its black majority and a rapidly growing Latinopopulation. Sensing the changing racialdynamic of the city, Tucker decided to run for Congress in 1992 for the seat ofretiring U.S. Representative Mervyn Dymally. Although Dymally endorsed his daughter, Lynn, Tucker defeated her in theDemocratic Primary and then won 86% of the vote in the general election.
In March 1994, just 14 months into his term, federal