BY MICHAEL WALTON
— TRAVERSE CITY — Local state Sen. Howard Walker will not seek reelection to a second term in Michigan's Senate.
Walker, R-Traverse City, said his decision to leave after his term expires in 2014 stemmed from a desire to spend more time with his family.
"I personally believe a wife should have her husband around and a daughter her father," he said.
Voters elected Walker, 58, to the Senate in 2010 after he served three terms in Michigan's House of Representatives. He sat on the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education in the 1990s.
His sprawling district includes Grand Traverse, Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Mackinac, and Chippewa counties.
Walker chaired the K-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee during his tenure as a senator. He was also a member of the Senate's Appropriations, and Energy and Technology committees.
Walker said improving education funding equity was one of his most prized accomplishments as a lawmaker. He added education funding and access to natural resources are two of the most important issues in Michigan's future.
"Balancing out the rights of people to access their natural resources with protecting the environment is something I will be involved in in the future," Walker said.
Walker said he has no set plans after he concludes his current term. He has not endorsed anyone to represent the 37th Senate District after his departure.
"I'm sure there will be a number of people interested in the seat," he said.
State Rep. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, did not return a call for comment.
Schmidt will conclude his third term as a state representative, the maximum allowed by state law, at the end of 2014.