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Political Notebook

San Luis Obispo

Hilda Zacarias, a candidate to replace Sam Blakeslee in the state Assembly in this year’s election, will moderate a town hall-style meeting on state and federal health care reform Jan. 22.

The event, set for 6 p.m. at the San Luis Obispo City/County Library meeting room on Palm Street, will be sponsored by the local chapter of the National Organization of Women.

The forum is to focus on whether and how state and federal proposals could affect access to health care for women.

Following the forum, Zacarias will join NOW’s traditional candlelight march to honor the many women who have died from unsafe and illegal abortions.

After Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals dropped out in October, Zacarias — a Santa Maria city councilwoman — is the lone Democrat running to succeed Blakeslee. The assemblyman cannot run again because of term limits.

She has declared her support for health care reform that is “affordable for both citizens and the government.”

Republicans in the contest include San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Katcho Achadjian, San Luis Obispo financial planner Matt Kokkonen, Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong and former Santa Maria Planning Commissioner Etta Waterfield.

— Bob Cuddy

SLO County

Eight current and seven former city council members throughout San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties have endorsed Katcho Achadjian to succeed Sam Blakeslee in the state Assembly.

Blakeslee this year is completing his third term as the representative of the 33rd District and cannot run again because of constitutional term limits.

Council members endorsing Achadjian — who is a San Luis Obispo County supervisor — include Tom O’Malley and Jerry Clay of Atascadero; John Hamon and Nick Gilman of Paso Robles; William Nicolls of Grover Beach; and Ed Waage, Ted Ehring and Shelley Higginbotham of Pismo Beach.

Former council members endorsing Achadjian include Paul Brown and Dodie Williams of San Luis Obispo; Gary Nemeth and Jim Heggarty of Paso Robles; Tom Runels and Sandy Lubin of Arroyo Grande; and Wil Schuyler of Lompoc.

Others in the battle for the GOP nomination are Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong, San Luis Obispo financial planner Matt Kokkonen, and former Santa Maria Planning Commissioner Etta Waterfield. The winner faces the sole Democrat in the race, Santa Maria City Councilwoman Hilda Zacarias.

— Bob Cuddy

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