Mayor Todd Gloria supported Nora Vargas as his replacement Friday. Photo via @SupNoraVargas Twitter

San Diego County Supervisor and Chairwoman Nora Vargas was elected Friday to lead the San Diego Association of Governments for 2023-2024, to chair the regional policy-making organization.

“I don’t take this responsibility lightly,” Vargas said. “I appreciate that you have entrusted me with the opportunity to serve as the next chair and am committed to making sure that we’re elevating transparency and accessibility, not only within the board, but more importantly, for our communities that we represent.”

The previous vice chairman of the board, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, led the meeting and the election. He has supported Vargas as his replacement for months.

“Supervisor Vargas has established herself as a true leader and champion not only for just the residents of her district, but all the people of San Diego County,” he said. “There’s no doubt that she will be an exceptional leader for the SANDAG Board as we work to tackle our housing and climate crises and execute critical projects like the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry and stabilizing the LOSSAN Corridor at the Del Mar Bluffs.”

“She will bring to this position genuine empathy, intelligence, courage, and a relentless drive to improve the quality of life for all,” Gloria said.

Vargas previously served SANDAG as chair of the Transportation Committee and succeeds California State Senator Catherine Blakespear, who served as SANDAG Chair since 2021. She is also a member of the county Air Pollution Control District and county representative to the California State Association of Counties and National Association of Counties.

Additionally on Friday, San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera was elected to serve as SANDAG board vice chair.

“SANDAG plays a pivotal role in our region’s economic development, sustainability, housing, and equity for residents, and I hope to help the board find the best path forward for the San Diego region,” he said.

Solana Beach Mayor Lesa Heebner was elected to serve as SANDAG Board second vice chair.

“I look forward to being on the leadership team to help bring this board together and to work toward the betterment of our region, including every city and jurisdiction,” she said.

Heebner is one of the longest serving members of the SANDAG Board and was chair of the SANDAG Regional Planning Committee for three years.

City News Service contributed to this article.