Rackley to run for open seat on county council

The race for the Pierce County Council just got a little more crowded.

Bonney Lake City Councilman Jim Rackley on March 18 announced his candidacy for the District 1 seat presently filled by Shawn Bunney.

Due to term limit rules, Bunney cannot run for re-election this fall and has announced his candidacy to represent the 31st District in the state House of Representatives, a seat being vacated by Dan Roach, who in turn has announced his candidacy for Bunney’s seat on the council.

Tacoma Firefighter Pat McElligott has also announced his candidacy for the council seat.

Rackley, a lifelong Republican, said in a press release he is taking a non-partisan approach to the campaign.

“Under the current circumstances, I do not wish to be involved in party politics,” he said in the release.

In a phone interview, Rackley said he believes the Republican nomination is a done deal for Roach and said he believes there is merit to running independent of party affiliation.

“It’s the only way I’ve ever run for office so far,” he said, describing his political views as “conservative” and a “tempered Republican.”

Rackley, 62, has served on the Bonney Lake City Council 11 years and said he is running for the county position in hopes of bringing some of Bonney Lake to the county level.

“If I can get any part of the way Bonney Lake functions to the county level it would be a wonderful thing,” Rackley said, adding that Bonney Lake’s council is “goals-oriented,” not based around politics.

“I think I can really do something good for the county,” he said.

Rackley said his primary focus on the county council would be on planning. Rackley called the county approach “non-seniscal” and said cities like Bonney Lake have always had trouble dealing with the county’s approach to planning, which he describing as allowing developers to “build and build” to county standards and then force cities to pay for upgrades when those now-urban areas are annexed into the nearest city.

Rackley also said he wants to try and find a way to reduce costs in the county’s criminal justice system.

Rackley said his experience on the Bonney Lake City Council prepares him for the job at the county level because the cities deal with many of the same issues as the county, only on a smaller, more personal level.

“I’ve already demonstrated I can do it,” he said. “It’s the same thing I’m doing only on a county level.”

Rackley’s term in Bonney Lake runs through 2012, but he said if he wins the county seat, he would leave the Bonney Lake Council. Rackley serves as Bonney Lake’s representative on the Pierce County Regional Council and the Rainier Communications Commission and is a member of the Puyallup River Watershed Council.