On Friday Aug. 9, Michigan 37th District Sen. Howard Walker (R-Traverse City) announced that he will not seek a second term in office.
The 58-year-old former Michigan House of Representatives three-termer cited “family” in a Friday Aug. 9, press release, as his reason for choosing not to seek another four-year term in the senate.
“After much soul-searching and many discussions with my family, I have decided not to seek a second term in the Senate,” he stated. “Family has always been my first priority and, while I have thoroughly enjoyed my service to the state, the time has come for me to focus all of my energy on my wife and daughter and our life in Northern Michigan.”
Charlevoix County Commissioner Chris Christensen (R-District 2) thanked Walker for his service and wished him the best of luck once out of office.
Christensen said he had no specific candidate that he would like to see run for the office at this time.
“We’ve got some great things happening in Northwestern Michigan and some great assets that need to be represented. We’re seen as a vacation mecca but there’s so much more going on,” Christensen said. “We’ve got the quality of life and technological infrastructure to support these white and blue collar jobs and it would be great to have someone in Lansing to help bring that to Northern Michigan.”
He added, “We need someone that represents Northwestern Michigan in a way that’s respected by Lansing.”
Walker, who spent six years in the Michigan House of Representatives for the 104th District, served his last term in 2008.
“It has been my privilege to serve the residents of Northern Michigan for over a decade in both the house of representatives and the senate, and I take great pride in representing the interests of my neighbors and friends,” Walker stated. “Throughout my time in the legislature, I have been a champion for public schools, environmental issues, renewable energy, Michigan’s agricultural heritage and protection of our beautiful natural resources.”
Walker, who has a degree in forestry from Michigan Technological University, has previously worked as a land surveyor and in the energy sector.
“My basic values of faith, family and integrity have always guided my legislative career, and they will continue to do so for the remainder of my term,” Walker stated.
His recently sponsored bills include a resolution commemorating Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week, a principal residence exemption on taxes for trust-owned properties, a bill to exempt oil, gas and mineral landmen from receiving unemployment benefits, and a rollback of the individual income tax rate.
During Walker’s tenure with the senate, he has been appointed to the Michigan Department of Corrections Appropriations Committee, the Department of Environmental Quality Appropriations Committee, the Higher Education Appropriations Committee, the K-12, School Aid, Education Appropriations Committee, and the Energy and Technology Appropriations Committee.
“I thought he performed well,” said Boyne City business owner Wes Dilworth. “I think Howard voted every chance he could.”
He added, “I am pleased Howard Walker announced it at this point, that way it gives people who want to run for that office time to get going—as opposed to doing it a year from now.”
Walker, who has nearly 18 months left in his first term, only missed two votes between January 2011 and August 2013, according to voting information database www.michiganvotes.org.
Dilworth said the traits he looks for in a candidate to serve in the senate next are honesty and integrity.
“If Michigan keeps on the path it is on right now we can do great things,” Dilworth said. “Rather than be on the bottom of most measures, Michigan is on the top of most measures.”
Walker received a score of 66 out of a possible 100 by the Independent Tea Party Patriots of Michigan on core Tea Party.
“I am proud of my many accomplishments over the past several years, and I thank my supporters, staff and colleagues for their invaluable help and involvement throughout my tenure,” Walker stated. “I will continue to represent my constituents for the remainder of my current term and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pursue a dynamic and aggressive legislative agenda over the next 18 months.”