San Diego County's three new supervisors took their oaths of office virtually Monday, including the first Latina and immigrant ever to hold the position.
New members Nora Vargas (District 1), Joel Anderson (District 2), and Terra Lawson-Remer (District 3) were sworn in based on their districts' numerical order. The ceremony was held virtually due to ongoing concerns and restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, San Diego's new mayor, Todd Gloria, was also sworn-in this way. Gloria, too, made history as the first-ever person of color and member of the LGBTQ community to lead the City of San Diego.
Anderson replaces Dianne Jacob, who first joined the Board of Supervisors in 1993 and has held elected office longer than anyone in county history. Anderson was a former California Assemblymember from 2007 to 2011 and senator from 2011 to 2018. He defeated Poway Mayor Steve Vaus in a tight race for the District 2 seat.
Vargas, a former Southwestern Community College Board member and the first Latina to serve on the Board of Supervisors, will replace Greg Cox, who held the seat for 25 years. Cox and Jacob were barred from running for re-election because of term limits.
“Buenos Dias, good morning,” Vargas said at Monday's ceremony.
As she took her oath, Vargas asked the group to hold a moment of silence “to honor the many lives lost to this global pandemic.”
She also spoke in Spanish, thanking voters for the chance to serve as the first Latina, immigrant supervisor.
“It’s an honor to be here with you,” Vargas said in Spanish. “I am humbled and ready to serve. I may be the first, but I absolutely will not be the last.”
She then delivered the same message in English -- and also spoke to young San Diegans and families.
“I want every young person in this county to know that I’m going to fight for them, to make sure that they have the same opportunities that this country has afforded me,” Vargas said. “I want every family to know that, in me, they will have an advocate on the Board of Supervisors looking out for them every day.”
Anderson took his oath next, with his wife, Kate, by his side.
He thanked Jacob for her 28 years of service and working hard for District 2 and vowed to continue doing the same for his constituents.
“I’m going to live up to every obligation that I made – all my campaign promises – because they deserve it; they deserve somebody fighting for them all the time,” Anderson said. “I know that we’re facing tremendous challenges in the county – whether it’s COVID, homelessness, or attainable housing – but we’re going to be laser-focused on those issues, delivering for our community.”
Lawson-Remer, who served as an advisor in the Obama administration's Treasury Department, defeated Kristin Gaspar, who sought a second term.
Lawson-Remer took her oath last at the virtual ceremony, thanking her supporters, family, friends and colleagues.
“Our generation faces existential challenges: a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands and driven countless others into poverty, destroying businesses and jobs and dreams,” Lawson-Remer said. “Driving suicide and despair and stranding our children in social and academic limbo – including my 18-month-old daughter, who has spent nearly half her life secluded, struggling with a communication learning disability that cannot be addressed under the social isolation of COVID-19.”
Lawson-Remer also touched on climate crisis, among several important issues affecting San Diego County.
“If we cannot rise to meet this moment – if we cannot decarbonize our economy and our society – and pivot towards a green future that puts us in harmony with our ecosystem, we will leave our children a planet ravaged by wildfires and rising sea level, extreme heat waves and famines, and even more deadly pandemics,” Lawson-Remer said.
She also talked about quality of life in San Diego County, the ongoing rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, and helping small, local businesses and workers deeply affected by the pandemic.
“This a new day for this board and I’m honored to start my service with Supervisors Nora Vargas and Joel Anderson, and to join Supervisor Fletcher and Desmond to meet these challenges,” she added. “I am confident that this county can meet this moment.”
Anderson is a Republican and Lawson-Remer and Vargas are Democrats, although the board seats are officially non-partisan.
The three new supervisors will join Nathan Fletcher (District 4) and Jim Desmond (District 5), both of whom are serving their first term.