Politics & Government

Solar energy consultant and businesswoman Dawn Ortiz-Legg enters Assembly race

A longtime Central Coast resident and solar energy advocate will challenge a growing number of candidates for the seat being vacated in January by termed-out Republican State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian.

Dawn Ortiz-Legg, a Democrat, announced Thursday she formally launched her campaign for the Assembly’s 35th District. She is a paid consultant for the firm First Solar Inc. and an advocate for smart business growth and an environmental balance, according to a news release issued by her campaign.

A county resident for 23 years, Ortiz-Legg listed her priorities as “creating economic development while preserving our quality of life” in the release.

“Jobs, infrastructure and housing are critical components to a healthy economy for Central Coast businesses, workers and their families. This district needs an advocate who understands the delicate balance between growth and protecting our natural resources, but also has real experience expanding businesses in California,” she said in a written statement. “My priority is to be an advocate for the Central Coast and use my experience to ensure we are not left behind.”

Her campaign touted Ortiz-Legg’s roles in three major solar projects, including First Solar’s Topaz Solar Farm, as example of her ability to build community support and overcoming regulatory hurdles while finding common ground among wide-ranging stakeholders.

She currently serves the board of directors for several government agencies and community organizations, including the San Luis Obispo County Economic Vitality Corporation, the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee of the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, as well as the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival and the Cuesta College Sustainability Center. She has also long volunteered for her father’s Illinois-based eye health services nonprofit I Care International, Inc.

She holds a master’s degree in international public policy with a focus on climate change and technology from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Ortiz-Legg lives in San Luis Obispo, where she is raising her daughter. More information can be found at her campaign website.

The 35th Assembly District includes the communities of Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Grover Beach, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria.

Republican Jordan Cunningham has also declared he is running for the seat in the June 2016 primary.