Atascadero City Council member Bob Kelley endorses Etta Waterfield

Atascadero City Councilman Bob Kelley has endorsed Etta Waterfield in the race to succeed Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee in the 33rd District next year.

"There's no doubt that Etta Waterfield will make good on her pledge to support small businesses and improve California's business climate, " Kelley wrote in a news release.

"Etta knows first-hand how significant our community businesses are," he wrote, "and she understands that government regulations and high taxes put small businesses out of business."

Waterfield, a former Santa Maria planning commissioner, was coordinator of the Economic Development Commission for the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

She faces strong opposition in the GOP primary.

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Katcho Achadjian, Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong and San Luis Obispo financial analyst Matt Kokkonen all are in the race.

Santa Maria City Councilwoman Hilda Zacarias is the only Democrat in the race.

Blakeslee, the Assembly minority leader, cannot run for re-election next year because of term limits. He is raising funds for a run at an as yet undesignated higher office, perhaps the state Senate, in 2012.

Kelley is a former Atascadero planning commissioner. Atascadero City Councilwoman Roberta Fonzi also has endorsed Waterfield.