Leadership Santa Maria Valley got a wide-ranging, behind-the-scenes look at the political process March 4 as part of their monthly topic day exploration.
A variety of speakers explained their respective role in the realm of government and politics during the daylong seminar held at the Santa Maria Public Airport District boardroom.

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Leadership Santa Maria Valley adviser Cary Gray helps Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian stretch out a poster that lists all of the state agencies, boards and commissions.

Accountant Trent Benedetti has worked on a number of political campaigns over the years, acting as treasurer for politicians and political causes. He and daughter-in-law Amber Benedetti explained the tightly regulated laws and meticulous reporting requirements that govern political finance.

Longtime City Councilman Bob Orach talked about the importance of being involved in the community, and how that involvement led him to a seat in city government.

Santa Maria Times Managing Editor Marga Cooley and Digital Producer Jason Anderson explained the newspaper’s role in covering government and politics. They also talked about how technology is enhancing news coverage, in particular live streaming events to allow readers to watch on their computers.

Lastly, Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian told the group how his work in private industry and community service led him to run for elected office. He emphasized the importance of working with his fellow lawmakers to address the pressing needs of the state.