The California Small Business Association has endorsed Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher for mayor of San Diego, citing an admiration for "his ability to lead," it was announced Tuesday.
"We can all agree that economic growth will come from our small businesses," Fletcher said at the announcement which was held at Athens Market Cafe on Carmel Mountain Road.
The cafe, named the Small Business of the Year by Fletcher's office, is owned by Nick Anastasopoulos who heads the Rancho Bernardo Recreation Council.
Anastasopoulos said he'd just returned from Sacramento, where the CSBA had unanimously endorsed Fletcher because of his accessibility, drive, passion and focus.
"We have no doubt that he will bring that same drive, passion and focus [to the mayor's office]," Anastasopoulos said.
Fletcher said small businesses are the "foundation" and "cornerstone" of a strong economy, and San Diego should reduce the regulatory and tax burden that makes it difficult for many small businesses to thrive.
San Diego also can be the center of innovation, advancing medical technologies that will reduce health care costs, which can be burdensome for small businesses.
He added that innovation alone cannot rein in health care costs.
"Health care starts with health and healthy living," he said.
Fletcher said as mayor he would be the advocate for small business owners, not "someone buried somewhere in the mayor's office."
The assemblyman also said he's willing to go before any organization—even if they have conflicting perspectives—to talk about what he wants to do for San Diego as mayor, referencing the many debates he has participated in, with more to come.
"San Diego is a great city and it deserves a great debate," Fletcher said. "If you have faith in your ideas ... you'll go to any audience."
Several small business owners were on hand for the announcement, including Danielle Stiritz, who owns in Rancho Bernardo with her husband and has five employees.
"I fully believe that he believes in us," Stiritz said. "He supports us so in turn we support him."
Stiritz said she appreciates Fletcher's personal involvement in the concerns of small business owners.
"It's nice to know we're getting his energy," she said, citing a forum she attended where Fletcher listened to the owners describe what is hurting them.
Stiritz said she supports Fletcher for mayor because of his youth, energy and what he can do for San Diego.
"He's got the power to make the nation's finest city step it up," Stiritz said.