Political Notebook

Republican state Senate candidate Sam Blakeslee has announced the backing of several business groups as well as Democrats throughout the 15th District.

Jim Brabeck, a former Cuesta College trustee who is in agribusiness, said Blakeslee “has worked across party lines to defend our agricultural way of life and has been a leading voice in protecting our coast and environment while protecting jobs and our quality of life.”

Brabeck, president and CEO of Farm Supply, a business that caters to farmers and ranchers, is one of several Democrats backing Blakeslee in the five-county area that will vote on a new state senator Tuesday.

The district spreads over all or parts of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.

Other pro-Blakeslee Democrats include Colleen Ray of Paso Robles and Steve Delmartini of San Luis Obispo.

The state Senate seat opened up when Republican Abel Maldonado resigned in May to become lieutenant governor.

Blakeslee is opposed by Democrat John Laird, Libertarian Mark Hinkle and Independent Jim Fitzgerald.

In addition to some Democrats in his corner, Blakeslee recently released a list of business organizations and individuals endorsing him.

Among them are the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the California Chamber of Commerce.

Others include Dick Willhoit, president of Estrella Associates, a Paso Robles development firm; Thomas T. Ikeda, vice president of Ikeda Brothers, a South County farming company; Steve Lohr, chief operating officer of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines in Paso Robles; Jason Papich, president of Papich Construction of Grover Beach; Maury Froman, president of Rottman Froman Communities; Neil Roberts of Roberts Vineyard Services of Templeton; attorney Charlie Daugherty; and Margaret Holstine, liaison for the Paso Robles Main Street Association.

John Kabateck of the National Federation of Independent Business said Blakeslee “has a proven track record of working to reform Sacramento to bring innovation and opportunity back to California” and “will continue to be an effective leader for California’s working families and the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

— Bob Cuddy

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Pat Harris was sworn in as the new chair of the county Democratic Central Committee.

Other new officers include Cory Black, male vice chair; Susan Devine, female vice chair; Richard Zamora, recording secretary; Andrea Devitt, corresponding secretary; Marilyn Armstrong, treasurer; Susan Stenovec, assistant treasurer; and Cheryl Conway, representative to the California Democratic Party executive board.

The committee’s mission is to support and elect Democratic candidates and to promote Democratic values and principles in San Luis Obispo County.

Harris said the group and its members will be working “with new enthusiasm” on statewide campaigns for the U.S. Senate and California governor this fall.

The group’s headquarters are at 1406 Broad St. in San Luis Obispo. For more information, call 546-8499.

— Bob Cuddy