Nora Vargas speaking into a microphone at a podium.
Photo credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

San Diego County announces first Latina district chair

With an eye for issues impacting families and neighborhoods, Vargas seeks to expand upon the county’s past few years of expanding social care.


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Joining the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is Nora Vargas, the new district chair and first-ever Latina to hold such a position. After accepting the position, Vargas expressed her main goals, and repeated her comments in Spanish in order to connect with all San Diegans.

“I’m ready to put our families first, to make sure people have food and a roof over their head,” Vargas said to the San Diego Union-Tribune

“I want to make sure everyone has a good quality of life by having clean air to breathe and access to health care,” she continued.

In another landmark moment, Vargas’ vice chair will be Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, an economist with experience serving in former President Obama’s Treasury Department, and non-binary woman, making this the first time two women will lead the county body.

Lawson-Renner has held experience with San Diego County as well, having overseen the 3rd District.

The board has welcomed them both to their posts in a unanimous vote. Additional changes to the board will include the re-elected Supervisor Joel Anderson who will serve as chair pro tem, due to the previous chair Supervisor Nathan Fletcher stepping down after two years in service.

Prior to her initial election to the board in 2020, Vargas served on the Southwestern College Governing Board and the California Teacher Retirement System board. Other experience includes working as vice president of community and government relations for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest.

Vargas intends to tackle the county's behavioral health care transformation through several ways, including overhauling their climate action plan, the elimination of carbon emissions, and attending to specific needs of the county's families and neighborhoods. 

An example she gave was a two-year program that provides portable air purifiers and monitoring systems that improve indoor air quality for homes in areas affected by port pollution.

She also intends to expand and improve upon the county’s involvement with social services, health care, how it addresses environmental issues, furthering its pandemic response, reformation of mental healthcare, and setting ambitious climate change initiatives.

“We’re very much looking forward to being the new face of that transition,” Lawson-Remer said, as the county takes “a bigger role, a more active role in advancing equity and environmental sustainability in our community.”

Vargas has stated that child care access is a high priority subject for both her and Lawson-Remer, seeing it as both a societal and an economic issue.

“I don’t want to talk about child care as a women’s issue,” she said. “Child care is a family issue.”


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