REGION — Monica Montgomery Steppe officially became a San Diego County supervisor for District 4 on Tuesday, taking the seat left vacant in May by the departure of Nathan Fletcher and making her the first Black woman to serve on the Board of Supervisors.
Previously the councilwoman for city of San Diego’s Fourth District, Montgomery Steppe prevailed over challenger Amy Reichert, 61.5%-38.4%, in a Nov. 7 special election.
The election was prompted by the May 15 resignation of Fletcher amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault, which he has denied.
The supervisors voted in May to have an election, rather than appoint a successor to serve out the term, which ends in January 2027. Montgomery Steppe and Reichert finished 1-2 in the Aug. 15 primary.
Before Montgomery Steppe took the oath on Dec. 5, the board voted 4-0 in favor of a resolution ratifying the special election results.
As her husband Steven stood next to her, Montgomery Steppe took the oath, which was followed by loud applause. Addressing the gallery, Montgomery Steppe said Tuesday marked a momentous occasion, filled with promise, hope and progress. She added that she was “humbled by the honor of being chosen by voters” to fill this seat, but “this moment is not mine alone.”
Montgomery Steppe thanked God, her husband and her parents, saying, “I get to stand in leadership and courage because of everything you instilled in me.” She also praised other family members for their community service, saying she is “determined to lead by the example they set for me.”
Montgomery Steppe said she stood on the shoulders of countless individuals who paved the way for change, including former Supervisor Leon Williams, “for the influence and precedents he set for our region.” Williams was the first Black member of the board, elected in 1982.
The new supervisor said there is a long way ahead to change the status quo, the same one that “fought to keep the people’s voices out of this seat.”
Referencing law enforcement unions’ opposition to her campaign or opposition mailers, Montgomery Steppe said and her supporters didn’t back down.
Montgomery Steppe said county leaders must prioritize the homeless crisis and help this diverse group of people get off the streets.
“This work is not for performance or accolades,” she said, adding she is “fully committed to working tirelessly” to uplift every county resident and build bridges where there are divides.
“Together, we will define a legacy of progress,” Montgomery Steppe said. “Let’s get back to work.”
Her new colleagues offered words of praise. Board Chairwoman Nora Vargas said Montgomery Steppe’s tenure “marks a truly historic moment for San Diego County.”
“I want everybody to take a moment and remember where you were when this happened,” said Vargas, who noted her history of working with Montgomery Steppe on other issues.
“Today I’m thrilled she’s working on a new chapter of collaboration,” said Vargas, who added that Montgomery Steppe “embodies the principle that representation matters.”
Vice Chair Terra Lawson-Remer said she was grateful for Montgomery Steppe’s many years of service. “You’ve always been such a fierce and courageous fighter,” Lawson-Remer said. “I’m so looking forward to all that you will do.”