As November 3 approaches, Americans are shifting their focus onto the most paramount election: the presidency. With the majority of Americans’ attention centered on the future leader of the country, smaller, more local elections tend to be overlooked. The presidential election, with its many twists and turns, never leaves a moment without suspense. In contrast, most local elections lack the same significance and apprehension, but the race for San Diego County Supervisor in District 3 is one of few exceptions.
Democrat and first-time candidate Terra Lawson-Remer is challenging the incumbent Republican Kristin Gaspar for the District 3 County Supervisor seat. The left-wing candidate is a well-rounded individual with experience in a variety of different occupations. Lawson-Remer was an economist with the United Nations and World Bank, and has built her political prowess by serving as a Senior Advisor in the Obama Administration. Before becoming part of the 2012 presidential staff, Lawson-Remer worked as a local Community College Advisory Board member and a Professor of public policy at UCSD. Her past experience in school environments has led her to take an active role in universalizing education. She has also taken part in many social and environmental justice groups and has worked as an environmental attorney, further driving her to help put a stop to environmentally destructive practices, such as sprawl development and traffic congestion. With a whirlwind of professional knowledge, Lawson-Remer hopes to bring a new perspective to the board.
Kristin Gaspar says she too has similar community-bonding interests in mind. As the District 3 Supervisor, Gaspar has focused most of her efforts on mental health services. She has, and hopes to continue to promote innovative programs to assist vulnerable communities, such as the elderly, formerly incarcerated, those struggling with addiction, those suffering from mental illness, and the homeless. Gaspar may have less of a varied professional history, but has a plethora of local government experience. The accomplished candidate served as the deputy mayor just prior to being the first elected mayor of Encinitas. Continuing to break barriers, Gaspar was also chosen to be the youngest woman ever promoted to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
Both candidates have a successful political background and portray a kind-hearted persona, but their supporters display what they truly stand for. Gaspar has been endorsed by many major companies and local officials; Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, the San Diego County Medical Society, along with the San Diego County Firefighters root for Gaspar in her race for reelection. Additionally, the Latino American Political Association (LAPA) and the San Diego County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association support the current office holder. Lawson-Remer on the other hand has gained support from political figures of all ranks. She has been endorsed by many well-known officials, such as California governor Gavin Newson, Congressman Scott Peters, as well as U.S. Representative Susan Davis, and by many influential institutions, like the Democratic Women’s Club, the Climate Defenders, and most recently the San Diego Union Tribune who endorsed Gaspar back in her 2016 run.
Each candidate’s endorsements, policies, and bright smiles depict a caring politician invested in the county’s well-being. However, the political rumors -whether or not they are true- can disrupt an otherwise positive persona. For instance, Gaspar thrice appealed San Diego County’s “weak and unenforceable” climate action plan -funded by taxpayers-, hinting at an opposition to the adoption of clean energy in San Diego. Conversely, Gaspar’s official website talks of her thought-out plan to enforce mass transit, therefore reducing emissions and combating climate change. Likewise, some believe that Lawson-Remer supports the elimination of roads in order to work through massive traffic challenges. The Democratic candidate, however, has never endorsed this policy, and instead proposes the repairment of roads, investment in public transit, and the development of communities so citizens can live close to work.
Whichever candidate comes out with the victory will determine the fate of the county’s $6.5 billion budget. Whether they choose to fund law enforcement and public transit, or housing and social-services, the decision will impact the lives of the residents all the way from Escondido down to Tierrasanta. It is now up to these citizens to decide how they want their county to be run, and what policies they wish to be enforced. Whether they want a primary focus on education and environmental solutions, or transportation and housing for those in need, every vote will contribute to the future of this county. Go vote!