SD Union Tribune: After months of speculation, Nathan Fletcher enters race for county supervisor

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Former State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, pictured in 2015, is running for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. (David Brooks / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Former California Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is running for San Diego County supervisor, ending months of questions about when he would announce his candidacy.

“When you look across San Diego, you see so many needs that are so great. You see working families that are struggling, a homeless population that is exploding,” Fletcher said. “And I am driven to deliver results.”

Fletcher is the first candidate in the race with a history in elected office. He is seeking the seat after four years in the state Assembly and an unsuccessful bid for San Diego mayor in 2012.

He also comes with name recognition and the likely backing of organized labor and other coalitions.

 

He joins fellow Democrat Omar Passons in the race to succeed Supervisor Ron Roberts, who has served on the board since 1994 and is leaving office due to term limits. Former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a Republican, is also considering running. County offices are nonpartisan, but elections often follow party lines.

The district has a major Democratic advantage, with 44.3 percent of the electorate registered to that party. Another 20.3 are Republicans, while 29.8 percent are not members of a party. The district includes most of the city of San Diego and runs roughly from La Jolla, Kearny Mesa, Encanto, downtown and Ocean Beach.

County government is largely responsible for social services, public safety through law enforcement and fire protection, and land use policy. It’s the local level of government for people who live outside the region’s 18 cities.

Fletcher said the county needs to do more to address homelessness, provide services to indigent people, protect the environment and curtail greenhouse gas emissions, and make affordable housing more available.

“I don’t think the status quo is getting it done,” he said.

Four of the five current board members have served for decades, and they will all be forced out of office by term limits by 2020. This election, in which two seats are being contested, will largely be about moving county government in a new direction, Fletcher said.

It also presents a time for the county to insulate itself from a federal agenda that is out of sync with local values, Fletcher said.

“The county can be a firewall against (President Donald Trump’s) agenda,” and provide services to immigrants and refugees, he said.

Fletcher is a former Marine Corps staff sergeant who worked in human and counter intelligence. He deployed to Iraq, Yemen and the Horn of Africa before he was discharged in 2007. He is currently a political science professor at the University of California San Diego. Fletcher, who is 40 years old, is married to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego.

He has recently advocated for immigrants who served honorably in the U.S. military but were later deported to their native country for crimes they committed after they left the service. Fletcher has worked to obtain gubernatorial pardons to clear their criminal records and allow them to return to the U.S. to seek citizenship, a benefit they were offered for their military service.

 Article as seen on SD Union Tribune