Term limit fight coming to Walker ballot

WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — Two years after Grand Rapids voters approved term limits for city hall, voters in one of the city’s largest suburbs will tackle the same question next month.

Residents in Walker will be asked to decide whether elected officials should limit their elected officials to two four-year terms.

Supporters and opponents have taken to the streets and social media to get their point across.

Leaders with Walker Citizens for Municipal Term Limits say the measure is a way to bring fresh ideas to city government.

“I think everybody needs term limits, (I) really do,” said Bruce de Wit, leader of the pro-term limits movement in Walker.

But Say No to Walker Term Limits leaders say voters already have the ability to limit a politician’s term in office.

“Yeah — we call them elections,” said Kyle Brethauer, leader of the opposition group.

A “yes” vote on Nov. 8 would limit city commissioners and the mayor to two terms. If approved, four of the current seven members of the city commission would not be eligible to run for their current seats.

The opposition says there’s already a good mix on the current commission.

“You have a couple that are fairly new, a couple that have been around long enough to really learn the job, and a couple that are pretty seasoned,” said Brethauer.

De Wit says it’s not the current Walker City Commission he and his supporters have an issue with.

“What I’m actually saying is, we need more citizens involved,” explained de Wit. “I would like people to be in the council meeting and going, ‘What do you mean by this? Why do we do it this way?’”

Brethauer won’t be able to cast his own vote against the measure; he lives just over the city line, in Grand Rapids. However, he went to school in Walker and has family and friends who live in the city.

“It’s right next door to my own backyard.” said Brethauer. “So why wouldn’t I take an interest in it?”