The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will be getting at least two new faces following Tuesday’s election, with two open seats up for grabs thanks to term limits, and an incumbent vying for reelection in a third seat.
District 1 board members Greg Cox and District 2’s Dianne Jacob are both termed out.
Cox, a Republican, has been in office since 1995, representing the district that includes National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Coronado, along with 19 communities within the city of San Diego, including Barrio Logan and Sunset Cliffs. It also features the unincorporated communities of Bonita, East Otay Mesa, Lincoln Acres and Sunnyside.
Vying to replace Cox are two Democrats — state Sen. Ben Hueso and Nora Vargas, a health executive.
Hueso, a former San Diego City Council member who has represented Senate District 40 since 2013, touts his governmental experience. In an emailed statement, Hueso said the county needs a leader with experience.
“During the pandemic, I brought frontline workers the resources to help those in need and expanded access to health care for Californians,” he said.
His main platforms are reducing pollution; improved public/fire safety services, including more funding for the county’s 2-1-1 line; more affordable housing; and job creation.
Vargas is a vice president of Planned Parenthood of the Southwest and also serves on the Southwest Community College board. In a prepared statement, Vargas said District 1 faces many challenges, from lack of housing to beachfront pollution.
“Now, South County has the highest confirmed count of COVID-19 cases – – we need a representative who will step up and provide real leadership during difficult times,” she added.
Although considered a political novice, Vargas cites her health care background as one reason for voters to support her. Her platform includes more access to affordable health care and housing for residents, climate and environmental justice, criminal justice reforms and women’s equality issues.
The San Diego County Democratic Party and smaller Democratic organizations have endorsed Vargas, as have Reps. Susan Davis and Mike Levin. Vargas has also received support from Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club.
Hueso has the backing of Rep. Juan Vargas, San Diego mayoral candidate Todd Gloria and various school district officials and unions.
The District 2 race, meanwhile, has former state lawmaker Joel Anderson running against another Republican, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus.
The termed-out Jacob, also a Republican, joined the Board of Supervisors in 1993. The district is home to the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Poway and Santee; and the San Diego communities of Allied Gardens, College Area, Del Cerro, Grantville, Navajo, Rolando and San Carlos.
It also covers East County’s unincorporated communities of Alpine, Campo, Julian, Ramona, Rancho San Diego and Spring Valley. Anderson represented the East County in the Assembly from 2007 to 2009, and in the state Senate from 2010 to 2018.
He has campaigned on his ability to work in a bipartisan fashion on issues ranging from lawsuit reform to electronic privacy.
Anderson’s platform focuses on improved public and fire safety, increased mental health/human services and housing, strengthening local businesses and more road repairs.
“I believe our children and grandchildren deserve the same benefits we enjoyed growing up in San Diego County,” Anderson said during a recent forum sponsored by East County Magazine. “If our family members can find housing and work, maybe we won’t have to travel to Phoenix to visit our grandchildren.”
A Grammy-winning recording artist, Vaus first served on the Poway City Council before winning the 2014 mayoral race. His leadership during the deadly 2019 shooting at a Poway synagogue received national attention.
If elected, Vaus said he will focus on infrastructure, more housing development, public/fire safety, and protecting and expanding open space.
“Being a supervisor and being a mayor, there’s an awful lot in common and I’ve got a track record of getting things done,” Vaus told KPBS earlier this year.
The San Diego County Republican Party — along with former Gov. Pete Wilson, several state lawmakers and various school district officials — have endorsed Anderson. Vaus has the endorsement of Supervisors Cox, Gaspar, Jacob and Jim Desmond, along with other elected leaders and civic groups.
In the District 3 race, incumbent Kristin Gaspar — a Republican elected in 2016 — is facing challenger Terra Lawson-Remer, a Democrat who served as a senior adviser in the Obama administration.
The coastal/North County district includes a dozen neighborhoods within the city of San Diego, including Carmel Mountain Ranch, Mira Mesa and Rancho Penasquitos. It also includes the cities of Del Mar, Encinitas, Escondido and Solana Beach.
A former Encinitas mayor and City Council member, Gaspar is also a small business owner. She lists her main accomplishments as helping vulnerable members of society, including those struggling with mental illness, homelessness or drug addiction, while protecting taxpayers and addressing public safety concerns.
Gaspar recently told the Del Mar Times that she is “focused on working with everyone to get results for San Diego.”
“As the only small business owner on this board, I have worked closely with the business community to safely re-open our economy,” Gaspar said.
Lawson-Remer, who has never held public office, said in a recent interview with the Del Mar Times that the region has been “held back by failed county leadership without vision or courage. I am running because I have a better vision of how we, working together, can confront urgent problems we face as a region, a state and a nation.”
She is campaigning on a platform of expanded coronavirus testing, affordable childcare and housing, an end to sprawl development, policies that promote racial justice, a better climate action plan, wildfire protection and reducing homelessness.
Gaspar has been endorsed by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, county Sheriff Bill Gore and Vaus, and numerous business, civic and law enforcement groups.
Lawson-Remer has been endorsed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Rep. Scott Peters and county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. She also has the support of several major employee unions and environmental groups.
— City News Service