Modesto's Olsen announces run for state Assembly

Modesto City Councilwoman Kristin Olsen is running for the state Assembly, setting up a Republican primary with former Modesto Councilwoman Janice Keating.

They’re competing for the seat opened by Tom Berryhill’s decision to run for the state Senate.

Olsen, who is expected to make the her announcement today, is a fresh off a successful re-election campaign to the City Council. She defeated challenger Joe Cataline in November.

She was among several people rumored to be considering running for the 25th Assembly District a month ago, but instead endorsed state Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Atwater.

Denham changed plans last week and opted to run for Congress, which led Olsen to enter the Assembly contest.Keating and Olsen are each strong conservatives, though they differed on some key votes while they served on the council together between 2005 and 2009.

Keating, for example, rejected some of the quality-of-life ordinances Olsen supported — such as a new system to gather abandoned shopping carts and a ban on Dumpster diving.

Olsen did not join the rest of the council in passing a mobile home rent control measure in 2007. Her colleagues, including Keating, were persuaded to adopt the ordinance because they feared that a Chicago-based company would not relent in rapid rent hikes that were driving seniors out of a mobile home park off McHenry Avenue.

They each also have been involved in Sacramento politics. Keating in the past two years has lobbied for reforms to a state law aimed at curbing global warming emissions. She contends that it goes too far to hurt industry.

Olsen has worked for former state Sen. Tim Leslie and for the California Restaurant Association.