By Kurt Erickson
SPRINGFIELD -- A longtime advisor to Gov. Pat Quinn has been hired to be the state's first canoe czar.
Claude Walker, who has served as an aide to Quinn dating back two decades, will coordinate kayaking and canoeing for the cash-strapped state Department of Natural Resources.
He will earn $85,000 annually.
The new job for the 57-year-old self-described kayaking enthusiast raised eyebrows among some lawmakers, who are in the midst of debating how to keep the state afloat during though budget times.