ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative and Economic Development Council is hosting a San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors Fifth District candidates forum on Thursday, Jan. 9.

The forum will give people the opportunity to hear directly from the two 5th District candidates — incumbent Debbie Arnold and challenger Ellen Beraud. 

San Luis Obispo County District 5 represents the communities of Northern San Luis Obispo, Santa Margarita, Atascadero, East Templeton, Creston, Pozo, Ground Squirrel Hollow, and Carrisa Plains.

The forum will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, 11605 El Camino Real, Atascadero. The state primary is March 3.

Ellen Beraud

Beraud (pronounced bay-ROW) is a longtime resident of Atascadero. Since moving here 20 years ago, she has raised a family, founded and operated a small business, and served as an Atascadero City Council member and Mayor. She and her husband of 29 years, Francois, own and operate a small electrical contracting business. In addition to operating a business, she has worked in the healthcare industry for more than 30 years as a Registered Dietitian. Before being elected as a City Council member in 2006, she served on the Atascadero Planning Commission.

“Atascadero’s challenges center around the perception of being a bedroom community serviced by neighboring cities. It takes close collaboration between government and motivated local business owners to coordinate efforts and see real results. Downtown has come a long way with many new businesses in the past five years, and we are reaching the critical mass that creates the synergy we need to be successful. I would support efforts to welcome diverse new business experiences, adding character and appeal to potential customers,” Beraud stated.

Debbie Arnold

Arnold moved to the Central Coast in 1973 to attend Cal Poly. She and her husband, Steve, have been active members of the agriculture community. They raised two children and owned and operated a small business in Atascadero for more than 17 years — Small Wonders Preschool. She worked as a Legislative Aide at the County Supervisor’s office and as a San Luis Obispo District Representative for the State Senate.

“My husband and I farm and ranch in the North County. Along with our grown children we not only farm wine grapes, but process them at our small family winery and operate a retail tasting room. I have lived in this community for a long time and feel like I have a great relationship with our business community. My entire family knows the value of supporting local businesses, and is committed to doing what we can to help our local businesses thrive. I believe the challenges to local businesses are similar throughout the County, and by working together we can continue to grow our business communities,” Arnold stated.

Getting through this together, Atascadero