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Candidates step forward for Turlock council seats

With just over under two weeks until the filing deadline, only four candidates have emerged for three open city government positions.

This fall, Turlock voters will head to the polls to vote for mayor and two city council members. One candidate is a political veteran, while the other three are newcomers to the arena.

District 3 incumbent councilmember Andrew Nosrati has stated publicly that he will not seek a second four-year term. District 1 councilmember Nicole Larson has not pulled nomination papers from the City Clerk's office and has yet to make an official announcement regarding her position. 

“I have not seen anything yet ,” City Clerk Julie Christel said Thursday.

Mayor Amy Bublak, who declared her candidacy for a second term in May, has made it official by filing her paperwork with the city. She is verified as an official candidate.

Since the incumbent is running in the mayoral race, the cut-off date for challengers to file is Aug. 12, giving them just 13 days to do so.

When there is no incumbent in a particular race, as might be the case in districts 1 and 3, then the deadline to file is extended by another five days. This election cycle, that extended-deadline date would be Aug. 17.

The nomination period began July 18.

In District 1, real estate broker Chris Nichols is the only candidate to pull papers thus far. For the District 3 seat, realtor Kelly Higgins and independent services contractor Ryan Taylor have done likewise.

Bublak, Nichols, Higgins and Taylor all pulled nomination papers on July 18. Bublak filed hers two days later. The three challengers have yet to do likewise, though all said they are committed to doing so.

Nichols, a life-long resident of Turlock, says he would focus on four key issues: roads, the city’s water quality, jobs and homelessness.

“I want to leave a legacy that has a positive impact for people,” said Nichols. “So, I had to ask myself: ‘What am I doing to make my community better?’ I think this is the best way to do that.”

Higgins, another life-long Turlocker, has the city’s future in mind.

“(My) desire to encourage the community about the direction our city is headed means doing my best to make that direction positive,” Higgins said. “The best way I can do that is to be involved. We can't just sit back and complain. I believe we have a civic duty to be involved.”

Taylor, a 2021 graduate of Turlock High, made an unsuccessful bid for student body president as a senior. But his interest in government grew from that effort and he decided to launch a bid for a council seat.

“I feel like I could help Turlock become a better place,” he said.

Councilmembers Rebecka Monez (District 2) and Pam Franco (District 4) are not up for re-election until 2024.