Among the many victories throughout the county that San Diego Democrats celebrated last November, one stands out for its impact and significance: winning a majority on the County Board of Supervisors for the first time ever.
That was the culmination of a ten-year effort to create and implement term limits to oust incumbent Republicans, elect the first Democrat in 2018, and run a program to flip District 1 in the Primary Election and District 3 in the General Election.
Political change tends to go slowly at first, and then all at once. Thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers, donors, activists, and campaign staff around the county, last year we elected Supervisor Nora Vargas in District 1 and Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer in District 3. Each of those wins on its own was history-making: Supervisor Vargas is the first Latina on the Board, and Supervisor Lawson-Remer is the first openly LGBT+ member of the Board.
Both Vargas and Lawson-Remer campaigned on creating more equitable communities with an emphasis on healthcare, eliminating racial inequities around the county, and science-based approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since taking office, Supervisor Vargas has delivered on her promise to focus on making equity a top priority, particularly around COVID-19. District 1, which includes South Bay and other communities with large Latino populations, has been disproportionately hit by COVID-19.
Supervisor Vargas, along with Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, put forward a policy proposal focusing on a COVID response from the County that is centered around scientific evidence with a large focus on equity. She advocated for a proposal that prioritized distribution of COVID relief funds to geographic areas harder hit by the pandemic to help provide relief to those most in need. Supervisor Vargas also worked with Latino leaders in the region to launch the South Bay Equity and Economic Recovery Task Force to work as a unified voice for the region to advocate for equity and work to make our communities healthier and stronger.
Supervisor Lawson-Remer made headlines when the board voted unanimously in support of her proposal to make phone calls from detention centers free. In an interview she did with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Lawson-Remer said it was morally wrong for the county to be generating revenue from inmate phone calls. She mentioned research that has shown that incarcerated people who are able to maintain connections to friends and family are less likely to reoffend. This compassionate, common-sense move increases public safety and makes San Diego County the second in the state to make phone calls from detention centers free. She has also championed the Regional Sustainability Plan, expanded mental health services, and hazard pay for front line workers.
This newly minted majority made political history when they voted Supervisor Fletcher as the first Democrat to Chair the Board of Supervisors. Along with leading the charge on COVID-19 response and recovery, Chair Fletcher has led our County to create the first-ever Department for Homeless Services, help small businesses, provide help to immigrant and refugee populations, and move the county toward bold action to fight climate change.
Our Democratic majority has been ready to lead on Day One. They are already delivering on their promises to constituents. We’re proud to have them representing our region and look forward to seeing what comes next.
Thank you to all of you for helping them get elected!