REGION — The November elections are just a few weeks away, and two candidates are vying for the District 3 seat in one of the region’s most anticipated races. For the first time in more than three decades, Democrats could flip the county Board of Supervisors’ long-held Republican majority.
Districts 1, 2 and 3 are all up for election. District 1 has two Democratic candidates, and District 2 has two Republican candidates.
Currently, District 4 is represented by a Democrat and District 5 is represented by a Republican.
In District 3, Republican incumbent Kristin Gaspar is going head-to-head with Democrat Terra Lawson-Remer, and whoever comes out on top will determine the political leanings of the board.
Although county supervisor is officially a nonpartisan position, the five-member board has been controlled by a Republican majority for more than 30 years and members’ political leanings and philosophies tend to play a part in the board’s policy directions.
Gaspar, a small business owner who was elected to the board in 2016, has previously served four years on the Encinitas City Council and was the first elected mayor of Encinitas.
She said that her top priority right now is an economic recovery for the region.
“We have to 250,000 San Diegans out of work … and 900,000 who are food insecure. It’s going to be very important that you have a county supervisor to navigate us out of this economic crisis,” Gaspar said. “As a CFO of a business, someone that comes with three terms in local offices … I know that I’m prepared to do this job and walk hand in hand with our families and businesses during what will be an incredibly challenging time.”
Gaspar, who has been an advocate for a swifter reopening of businesses, criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom for not giving the county more control of the reopening process.
“It’s important that we follow our local data, and we should have the ability on the local level to make decisions that are in response to what we see in our science and our data,” Gaspar said. “One thing that frustrates me is a governor that’s trying to drive an entire state, and this is a big, diverse state, and not every county has been a leader like San Diego has.”
Lawson-Remer, an economist and environmental attorney who worked in the Treasury Department during the Obama administration, said that the first step to COVID-19 recovery is increased testing and increased contact tracing.
“If you look around the world, the economies that have been able to get restarted again are the ones that focused on getting their case numbers down,” Lawson-Remer said. “Once they got their numbers down, they helped businesses invest in the equipment they needed to reopen safely, and they were able to reopen and stay open.”
Lawson-Remer said that, besides COVID-19 recovery, her top priority is climate action.
“I’m a passionate environmentalist and I’m really focused on taking action on climate change. That means protecting our beaches, coastlines and our open spaces, as well as investing in affordable housing, and reducing traffic and congestion because protecting our planet is the most important thing we can do,” Lawson-Remer said.