Vargas elected as chairperson

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted District 1 Supervisor Nora Vargas as chairperson on Jan. 10, making her the first Latina chair of the Board. In tandem, Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer joins her as vice chair, becoming the first time the Board has been led by two women.

Vargas said she would lead the Board with transparency and accountability, ensuring that the Board will work so that everyone working is treated with respect and dignity.

Vargas said the Board must work together to make real change happen.

“I know it has been tough because at times our chambers have been polarizing,” she said. “But it is a new day, and our communities deserve better.”

She said that is why she believes the Board must work to increase public participation in its meetings, as bringing more voices to the table, the Board can serve all communities in ways they deserve.

“I expect we will have disagreements as we tackle hard problems. And I actually hope that we do in a civil manner. That’s how we find real solutions. That’s what democracy is all about.”

It is not about any one individual on the board, she said, but about the people they are there to serve.

“We are ready to put families first by making sure people have food and a roof over their head and we can connect them to the resources they need to thrive, not just survive,” she said. “We are making sure everyone has a good quality of life by having clean air to breathe and access to health care.”

Creating a path to economic prosperity for small businesses by providing the tools they need to recover from the pandemic, acknowledging childcare is a vital necessity for families to prosper, developing a green job workforce, enhancing community infrastructure by expanding public transit, investing in parks and open spaces, and advancing projects like the East Otay Mesa Port of Entry that results in positive environmental and economic impacts are on her list of priorities.

Vargas thanked Supervisor Nathan Fletcher for his leadership as chair through the county’s “challenging times” over the past two years, and his work on behavioral and mental health issues affecting veterans, and other communities in the county.

Vargas said she was grateful for the 19,000 county employees who are committed to improving the lives of people in the San Diego region.

“You made sure people got their vaccines,” she said. “You made sure people had the resources they needed so they could pay their rent or utilities. And you saved countless lives in the process.”