Lacey candidates argue public safety, pot rules

Lawson wants farmer-owned cooperative; Steadman says public safety key concern

rboone@theolympian.comOctober 29, 2013 

Commercial property developer Michael Steadman is making another run at a Lacey City Council seat after a narrow defeat against Jason Hearn in 2011.

This time he is after the Position No. 6 seat held by incumbent Ron Lawson, 75, who is completing his first term.

Steadman, 43, serves on the Lacey Planning Commission.

If elected, public safety is among Steadman’s key concerns, wanting to make sure, for example, that the neighborhoods in Hawks Prairie, such as Jubilee and others nearby, continue to be served by an area fire station — a station that has closed once before but has reopened with the help of grant funds, he said.

His other goals: to continue to attract businesses to the city; to improve transportation; and to have a voice on the council that represents the Hawks Prairie area north of Interstate 5. “I think that’s missing,” he said.

Lawson checked off several accomplishments in his first term — addressing a fire district controversy, encouraging more community gardens and working to get the city’s water situation resolved as it related to urban growth areas.

Up next for Lawson, if elected, is to push for the creation of a farmer-owned cooperative in Lacey, a move designed to create jobs, but also to get people to eat real food.

“We are addicted to processed food,” he said.

About his opponent, Steadman has campaigned for change on the Lacey City Council where change isn’t needed, Lawson said. He said the council has done a good job, saying the city continued to operate in the black during the recession.

“Nobody is telling me to change,” he said about his relationship with residents.

But Steadman said he has not set out to create wholesale change on the council, acknowledging that the council has done some good things.

“We’re doing a decent job of providing services, but we also need to make sure future generations have that as well,” he said.

Lawson also thinks Steadman takes offense at his medical marijuana use.

Lawson said he uses it for chronic pain after he was involved in a head-on collision on his way home from Aberdeen on Dec. 31, 1999. He spent five weeks in the hospital, including two weeks in a coma, and has undergone more than 20 surgeries.

“I’m one of the luckiest old farts ever,” Lawson said.

Steadman, though, said he does not take offense at Lawson’s marijuana use: Medical marijuana is intended for those fighting cancer or, like Lawson, for those in pain, he said. But he also wants to make sure medical or recreational marijuana is closely regulated so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, such as high school students he said.

Steadman added he does not use marijuana, and it’s the “last thing I want for my kids.”

As for fundraising, Steadman has raised more than $8,000. Top contributors include the Nisqually Indian Tribe and the Steadman Family Trust, according to state Public Disclosure Commission data.

Lawson has raised about $4,600, mostly from individuals, PDC data show.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

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