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1st Ward commissioner will not seek re-election | News

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1st Ward commissioner will not seek re-election

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) Grand Rapids 1st Ward City Commissioner Walt Gutowski, Jr. announced Thursday that he won't be seeking another term in office.

Gutowski started on the commission in 2008 and will serve through the end of 2015. A new commissioner will be elected in November.

Read Gutowski's full statement below:

With Sincere Appreciation to the Citizens of Grand Rapids

My final term as First Ward Commissioner comes to a close on December 31, 2015. After a great deal of spiritual reflection and conversations with friends and family, I have decided that business commitments will prevent me from seeking another elected office at this time.

I have learned many things in my nearly eight years in public service. Most importantly, I've developed a deep appreciation for the citizens of this community. Since I began my term on the City Commission in January 2008, the people of Grand Rapids have repeatedly supported our efforts to improve our city services, neighborhoods, roads and parks with their tax dollars. Their support of our vision allowed us to overcome significant fiscal challenges and set our city on a course of prosperity.

December 31 will not mark the end of my community engagement, but instead, a new chapter. It's a story that began with my mom and dad who instilled in me a passion for service. I love serving the people of Grand Rapids and plan to remain deeply involved in various business, philanthropic and civic initiatives – particularly on Grand Rapids' West Side, where my family and business have deep roots.

It is my hope that I can continue to make valuable contributions to this community and my fellow citizens.

I want to thank my wife, Amy, and our children for their love and encouragement. I want to thank my many friends and supporters, including Owen Bieber, Bob Sullivan, and J.C. Huizenga, for their wise counsel through the years. I also want to thank Former Mayor John Logie and Mayor George Heartwell, my fellow Commissioners and other city leaders for the opportunity to work together toward a common goal of making Grand Rapids a great place to live, work, recreate, learn and worship.

Finally, I want to thank the citizens of Grand Rapids and the people of the First Ward for allowing me to represent you. It has been a tremendous honor, and I look forward to serving you in other ways in the years ahead.