ATASCADERO — Former Atascadero Mayor Ellen Beraud’s announcement, April 6 on the steps of the town’s City Hall, that she’s running for the San Luis Obispo County District 5 Supervisor seat was less of a public announcement of her reasons to seek the job than a chance to rally the troops ahead of a year-long campaign.
The California primary is March 3, 2020, and the Board’s majority status of registered Republicans versus Democrats for what is otherwise a nonpartisan office is up for grabs with elections being held for Districts 1, 3, and 5.
Current District 5 Supervisor Debbie Arnold has a two-month head start on fundraising, having started her campaign in February. Beraud took aim at Arnold’s expected deep pockets for the election, but has the advantage of an already functioning campaign machine, reactivating the intangible assets of Susan Funks’ recent Atascadero City Council run.
Both Funk and former District Supervisor Jim Patterson took to the podium to support and endorse Beraud in her campaign launch. While Patterson remarked on the dysfunction he saw in the current Board, Funk and Beraud focused on their mutual community involvement and Beraud’s political history.
There was surprisingly little in the way of introduction of the candidate’s history for the handful of attendees who were not already holding signs or wearing the blue campaign supporter T-shirts, however. Beraud referenced her term as Atascadero Mayor and time on the City Council during the last economic crisis, and said her experience as an advocate for the working class as a Union Steward would guide her.
A campaign website, coming online with more detail after the initial press announcement, fleshes out some of that backstory, explaining her motivations.
“I’ve dealt with the struggle of watching my children move far away because of how unaffordable it is to live here,” she notes, and explains the local business she referenced at the event, “Together with my husband of 29 years, Francois, I own and operate a small electrical contracting business. I understand the rewards, and of course the challenges, of doing business on the Central Coast, and know just how vital it is for our community to support small businesses and local agriculture. In addition to operating a business, I’ve worked in the healthcare industry for more than 30 years as a Registered Dietitian. Between my roles at Twin Cities Hospital and Atascadero State Hospital, I recognize the critical role that County employees play in the health and well-being of our community….Before being elected as a City Council member in 2006, I served on the Atascadero Planning Commission.”
As noted in the previous Atascadero News article announcing Beraud’s campaign, she is currently again on the Planning Commision as Funk’s appointment, and said she would step down from that role if elected to higher office.
In the most direct criticism of the incumbent and in answering how she planned to comport herself if elected, Beraud said she would be “self directed,” and “I will research the issues on my own and make decisions based on science and reason and not ideology.”
She also noted that while she’ll start with door-to-door campaigning, she expects outreach to be even more taxing than the operation she ran during Funk’s campaign, as the District contains many more people than City of Atascadero.
The campaign will follow up on launch with an event at Springhill Suites on April 26.