BY PAUL CHADERJIAN
ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. – San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Katcho Achadjian has been at the helm of running this picturesque county on the Central Coast of California for the past 12 years. As a local businessman, Katcho’s reputation and passion have made him one of the stars of the region. Now Katcho is leading a campaign to be elected to the State Assembly as a representative of his region in Sacramento. The 58-year-old businessman, husband, father of two, and community activist with multiple honors for his decades of service wants to take his message to Sacramento to help heal California’s devastating economic crisis.
“As a first generation immigrant, strongly influenced by my father’s community involvement, I was encouraged to become politically active,” says Katcho. “I was one of very few Armenian-Americans living on the Central Coast, but wanted to have a say in how my local government was being managed by politicians. After serving for 12 years on the County Board of Supervisors, I decided I wanted to be able to have a broader impact, and became involved in my campaign for State Assembly.”
Katcho Achadjian was born in Lebanon and moved to San Luis Obispo at the age of 20. He has lived the American Dream, starting as an immigrant, obtaining his education at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cuesta College, building several successful businesses, and serving his community any way he has been able to. As a three-term County Supervisor, Katcho has proven his dedication to his community. He has fought diligently to protect taxpayers, property rights, and public safety while making an effort to hold down the cost of government.
California Polytechnic State University with some 20,000 students is one of the largest economic engines in this region. The primarily rural and agriculture San Luis Obispo County is also the third largest producer of wine in California, surpassing Napa and Sonoma counties. Tourism, wine country vacations, agriculture, and fishing are other sources of revenue for a county that’s about four hours North of Los Angeles.
According to the 2000 Census, more than a quarter million people call the region home, and SLO County hot spots include Avila Beach, Cambria, Morro Bay, and the internationally renowned Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Hearst Castle was built by publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst, and it’s where the nation’s political and Hollywood elite partied and vacationed in the 1920s and 1930’s. The 90,000-square-foot castle is a national historic landmark and a state historic park, and it draws more than a million tourists annually.
Republican Fiscal Conservative
In a Republican-leaning region of California, Katcho’s fiscal conservatism has made him a popular local leader. As a county supervisor, he has helped balance eleven consecutive $400 million county budgets. Katcho says he did this by building reserves during the good times and making the tough cuts when times got tougher. Katcho has even cut his own salary and expenses and has opposed every single effort to raise the pay of the Board of Supervisors.
“Excessive borrowing and reckless overspending have fueled irresponsible state budget deficits,” says Katcho. “My goal is to push for tougher reforms that will eliminate statewide departments that duplicate county and city service.”
Katcho says he will also recommend a cap to limit government spending each year and propose a formula based on population and inflation and create appropriate reserves for future periods of economic trouble.
“I will also encourage multi-year budget planning to reduce boom and bust budget cycles,” he says. “In addition, I will propose to require that state auditors conduct regular performance audits of state programs to ensure that the money spent is being done appropriately.”
Devoted to Bettering Education, Schools, Safety, and Health Care
Throughout his decades of public service, Katcho has always set aside time to volunteer at high schools and community colleges. He has spent thousands of volunteer hours trying to help the region’s academic institutions be the best they can be and offer the best educational opportunities for all students.
“In the Assembly, I will push for reforms that improve academic performance and get the most for our tax dollars,” says Katcho. “I will work toward legislation requiring that tax dollars being spent on schools get into the classroom and are not wasted on Sacramento bureaucracy.”
Katcho also vows to give schools the power to save tax dollars by contracting out for non-academic services such as student transportation and landscaping. He wants to empower local school boards and principals with more authority to determine how school funds are spent. He also plans to demand that every student have the reading and writing skills in English they need before they graduate.
Above and beyond education, Katcho has supported health care programs for children from birth to age 5. He promises to lobby to improve California children’s health care with services such as vision screenings, medical checkups, stop smoking services, and children’s health insurance.
Katcho has also spent decades working with law enforcement agencies to protect California’s children and citizenry. He has added deputies and strengthened anti-gang programs in SLO County.
As a volunteer and businessman, he has supported the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (DARE) to keep kids off of drugs. In the Assembly he promises to continue his strong support for public safety programs and take all actions necessary to keep California families safe.
Successful Businessman Lobbying for a Stronger State Economy
As the successful owner of three local businesses, Katcho says he has a clear understanding of what it takes to create job opportunities, retain jobs and meet payroll.
“As past president of the South County Economic Development Association and a long standing member of the Chamber of Commerce and Farm Bureau, I am committed to reducing regulatory compliance costs while making more flexible existing regulation to keep more jobs on the Central Coast,” he says. “I want to reform liability insurance to cap injury related compensation, minimize taxes and fees on those who create jobs, and increase support for our agricultural and tourism economies.”
Katcho also says he will oppose “liberal schemes” to take more taxes out of Californian’s hard-earned income. He plans to stand up for Proposition 13 and the protection it affords homeowners. Katcho says he will also oppose job killing tax hikes that put California’s economy at an economic disadvantage to other states and nations.
Immigration & Civic Duty
As a Californian living the American Dream, Katcho wants to ensure that every American has fair access to the bounty and opportunities the United States of America offers its citizens and legal residents. Having gained his own citizenship in 1982, Katcho has a strong sense of the work it takes to thrive in the US. He’s also convinced that part of the privilege of US Citizenship comes with responsibilities and duties like being involved with the electoral process.
“Elections are the most important way to voice our opinions about how our government works to best service the citizenry,” says Katcho. “Elections are the best way to voice our opinions about the lawmakers and the laws that affect our safety, wallets, and our children’s futures.”
Katcho believes Californians need to address drastic issues on the table including the budget deficit, cuts in elderly and children’s care, and important dilemmas in education, environmental concerns, and illegal immigration.
“All of us have opinions on these issues, and the only way we can have our say is registering to vote and voting for the candidates who will represent your best interests and points of view,” says Katcho. “As an American, I believe is it our personal duty – not privilege to register and vote. Know the candidates on the ballot and vote on Election Day.”
Katcho learned early on in his life that adhering to local, state, and federal laws are important components of being a citizen of this country. It is Katcho’s belief that respecting the privilege of immigrating to the United States must be strictly enforced. He says that illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes and break laws that will result in their incarceration must be deported.
Endorsements & Your Involvement
A current San Luis Obispo newspaper poll shows that more than 60% of area voters support Katcho Achadjian’s campaign for a seat on the Assembly. Katcho has also received the endorsement of Former Governor George Deukmejian, Central Coast and Southern San Joaquin Valley Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Lieutenant Governor of California and former State Senator Abel Maldonado, and dozens of others.
However, any state campaign is always a costly endeavors, and ahead of the June 8th primary will be the daunting race to the November elections. In addition to asking 33rd district residents to participate in the June and November elections, Katcho’s campaign is also seeking the support of Armenian-Americans across the state and the nation. Support can come in volunteer hours, working the phones to call local voters, and financial donations.
Take a look at who else wants Katcho in the California State Assembly: Former California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Frank Mecham, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joni Gray, Atascadero city councilmen and former mayors Jerry Clay and Tom O’Malley, Mayor of Guadalupe Lupe Alvarez, Mayor of Morro Bay Janice Peters, Mayor of Paso Robles Duane Picanco and several council members, Mayor of Pismo Beach Mary Ann Reiss and several council members, Mayor of San Luis Obispo Dave Romero, Mayor of Arroyo Grande Tony Ferrara, Morro Bay city council members Carla Borchard and Rick Grantham, the Police Chiefs of Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay and Grover Beach, the California Republican Taxpayers Association, the California Hospital Association, the California Medical Association, California State Firefighters’ Association, Peace Officers Research Association of California, Crime Victims United of California, Professional Engineers in California Government, California Association of Highway Patrolmen, Cal Poly College Republicans, Santa Barbara Deputy Sheriff Association, California Small Business Association, California Correctional Peace Officers Association, and many other local elected officials, associations and organizations.
Several groups of young activists from all over the state are planning to volunteer in Katcho’s campaign over the weeks and months to come. For more information the Katcho Achadjian campaign, visit the official campaign website: http://www.katchoforassembly.org/. To let people across the US know about Katcho, forward this article and link to friends and family across the United States. To learn about how to be involved and how to help, contact the ANCA-WR office at 818-500-1918. Join Katcho on:
Facebook Profile: Katcho Achadjian
Facebook FanPage: Katcho for State Assembly
K.H. “Katcho” Achadjian for Assembly
Conservative Commitment…It’s Katching!
525 Traffic Way Arroyo Grande CA 93420
Honors, Awards and Recognitions:
Altrusa International, Honorary Lifetime Membership Awarded 2006
Citizen of the Year, Arroyo Grande Chamber of Commerce: 1984
Boys and Girls Club
New Times 15th Annual Best of SLO County 2001 “Best Supervisor” Award
Appointed to California Coastal Commission 2006-Present
San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, November 1998 –Present, Chairman 2001, 2006
First 5 Commission, Charter Chairman 1999 – Present
S.L.O. Council of Governments Board, Chairman 2001
Arroyo Grande Chamber of Commerce, Our Hero Award Recipient 2004
League of Women Voters, Member 2004 – Present
Arroyo Grande High School Homecoming Grand Marshall: 1996