Rick Nelsen, co-owner of the popular steakhouse Ricardo’s Kitchen and Bar, said Thursday that he plans to run for a seat on Lacey City Council and apply for the vacancy created by Jeff Gadman, who was recently appointed Thurston County Treasurer.
Nelsen, 36, who observed Lacey City Council in action Thursday, said he plans to file Monday to seek the Position 3 seat vacated by Gadman.
That will make four people running for seats on the council, along with two more who are considering it. Incumbent Michael Steadman also has filed to defend his seat.
Nelsen said he’s not running because he’s overly concerned about the city. He loves how business friendly Lacey is — and he would like that to continue — but he thinks the council could use some younger blood.
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Nelsen also has worked closely with the city recently. He operated Ricardo’s for 14 years on Lacey Boulevard before buying into the city’s vision to turn the Woodland Square Loop area of the city, and its largely vacant office buildings, into a vibrant, mixed-use destination. Nelsen moved his business there and has expanded into a larger space, complete with restaurant, bar, outdoor seating and fire pits.
“I took the gamble,” he said.
The other candidates:
▪ Ken Balsley, 74. A longtime resident, Balsley is perhaps best known for his blog and podcast. Balsley also plans to apply for Gadman’s seat. If he doesn’t get that appointment, he will run for that Position 3 seat in the upcoming election.
▪ Richard Bokofsky, 70. Bokofsky, an insurance broker, has lived in Lacey about 10 years. Bokofsky also plans to apply for the appointment and run for a seat on the council, although he has yet to identify his choice of seat.
▪ Madeline Goodwin, 20. Goodwin, who earned her master’s degree at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, seeks the seat now held by Virgil Clarkson, who has said he will not run for another term.
Two others also are considering bids: Public relations professional Cindy Sharpe and local appellate attorney Kevin Hochhalter.
Matthew Staples, 42, also planned to run for a seat on the council before discovering that he lives just outside Lacey city limits.
The official candidate filing week is May 15-19.
The city is now accepting applications to fill the Gadman vacancy on the council. But it won’t be interviewing candidates on April 17 at Lacey City Hall.
Due to a scheduling conflict, the April 17 meeting will be at the Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave. SE. That’s because Congressman Denny Heck had scheduled the use of council chambers April 17, said City Manager Scott Spence.
Spence said about a half-dozen people have requested applications for the vacancy.