Lawson-Remer challenges Gaspar for county supervisor seat


Incumbent San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar is being challenged in her run for a second term by first-time candidate Terra Lawson-Remer in the District 3 race on Nov. 3.

Kristin Gaspar
Kristin Gaspar

Gaspar is a Republican and Lawson-Remer is a Democrat wanting to represent the district that includes Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch, Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas.

Gaspar, 40, is an Encinitas resident who has lived in the district for 36 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University. In addition to being a county supervisor since 2016, she is the chief financial officer at Gaspar Doctors of Physical Therapy. Gaspar was on the Encinitas City Council (2010-14) and Encinitas mayor (2014-16). Her campaign website is at

Terra Lawson-Remer
Terra Lawson-Remer

Lawson-Remer, 42, is an Encinitas resident who has lived in the district for four years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in ethics, politics and economics from Yale; her juris doctorate from New York University School of Law and her Ph.D. from New York University. She is an economist and small businesswoman who has never held political office. This is her first run for county supervisor. Her campaign website is

Gaspar said she wants to be re-elected because “Since taking office, I have worked to help those who are most vulnerable in our society: the elderly, the formerly incarcerated, those struggling with mental health or addiction and our homeless population while protecting taxpayers and keeping our communities safe. We are turning things around using innovative approaches that focus on results, but we have much more work to do.”

Lawson-Remer said she wants to be elected as county supervisor because “As a native San Diegan, I’ve watched our county grow from sleepy towns to the eighth largest metropolitan area in the nation, with the world’s busiest border. We are a dynamic capital of innovation, cultural exchange and economic opportunity. But we’ve been held back by failed county leadership without vision or courage. For too long, San Diego County has been governed by right-wing Republicans and headed (in) the wrong direction. I am running because I have a better vision of how we — working together — can confront urgent problems we face as a region, a state and a nation.”

“San Diego County has been (a) leader throughout the state on our COVID-19 response,” Gaspar said when asked for her assessment of how the county has handled the pandemic. “We declared a state of emergency early, built capacity in our healthcare system and our numbers reflect this careful and methodical response.”

When asked for her assessment of the county’s handling of the pandemic, Lawson-Remer said, “We must follow the direction of public health experts and expand testing, contract tracing, masks and other evidence-based measures. The county has, with some exceptions, been making the right moves — led by our public health officer, supported by a slim 3-2 majority of the supervisors. We need to focus on getting the pandemic under control and reopening schools first. A strong public health response is the first step to getting our society and our economy back on track.”

“As the only small businessowner on this board, I have worked closely with the business community to safely re-open our economy,” Gaspar said regarding the county’s post-COVID economic recovery. “COVID-19 will have a lasting effect on our economy that we will feel for several years. The County of San Diego has a strong track record for fiscal stability and that has been a great asset during this pandemic. As federal and state funding diminishes, it will take sacrifices on the local level and I know how to do that from building a business from my kitchen table to nine locations and nearly 150 employees.”

“As an economist with the United Nations and World Bank, I worked around the world to create jobs, restart businesses and generate economic activity after a crisis,” Lawson-Remer said when asked about the county’s post-COVID economic recovery. “I would bring that experience to the county board and our collective work restarting our businesses and rebuilding the job market. But the first step is getting the pandemic under control. Until then, there will be no consumer confidence and no certainty for small business, without which we cannot have a real recovery.”

Excluding the economic situation caused by the pandemic, Gaspar said the next three greatest issues impacting the district and how she would bring change to these are:

• Homelessness — “I have traveled the country and researched effective models and am excited to have brought some of these back to San Diego County,” Gaspar said. “We are currently in negotiations to cite The Other Side Academy, which will assist the most vulnerable in our communities from homeless, to addicted, to formerly incarcerated and look forward to bringing this important asset online during my second term.”

• Improving mental health — “I called for a countywide behavioral health conference that brought the county, cities and providers together for the first time to coordinate efforts on behavioral health,” Gaspar said. “I also helped to negotiate a new mental health wing at Tri-City Medical Center.”

• Public safety/wildfire protection — Gaspar called this a “top priority” for her. “From improving wildfire response communications to combating opioid abuse and human trafficking, to finding alternative methods for assisting troubled youth, I have worked closely with county fire, the sheriff, district attorney, probation and the public defender to make San Diego one of the safest counties in America.”

Excluding the economic situation caused by the pandemic, Lawson-Remer said the next three greatest issues impacting the district are:

• Climate action,

• Affordable housing and

• Traffic/transportation.

Lawson-Remer said the three regional challenges “can only be solved by a regional approach. I believe we must address them as interlocking issues and would apply my experience as a senior adviser in the Obama administration developing environmental policies in the Treasury Department. ... I will protect our open space and focus on smart growth policies rather than sprawl development. We need innovative solutions, not the same failed policies that conservative county supervisors have pushed for three decades.”

As for how she would bring change to these, Lawson-Remer said, “As an economist, educator, small business owner and policy maker, I always bring a practical and evidence-based approach to solving problems. I have a long record of working collaboratively with everyone to get results.”

Gaspar said the biggest issues facing Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas outside of COVID-19 and its economic recovery are the “major threat to public safety along the bluffs in these coastal cities. As mayor of Encinitas, I worked on the region’s first long-term sand replenishment project that would widen the beaches and protect against winter storm and erosion at the toe of the bluffs that create a hazard for families. We have a responsibility to protect beachgoers and critical infrastructure along the coast.”

Lawson-Remer said the biggest issues facing Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas and other coastal communities is protection of their beaches, coastline and quality of life. “Our beautiful environment is what makes our county so special,” she said. “Unfortunately, my opponent has sold out San Diego to big sprawl developers paving our open spaces to build McMansions. I will put a stop to that and fight to protect our beaches, coastlines and communities.”

Gaspar said she wants voters to know, “I am a mother, youth sports coach, a small business owner and your county supervisor. I believe in servant leadership and will continue to embody these values in the work I do at the county.”

As for why voters should select her, Gaspar said, “I’m very proud of the work we’ve started in my first term on the board and look forward to continuing to find innovative ways to address affordable housing, homelessness, mental health, wildfire prevention and safely re-open our region. I’m focused on working with everyone to get results for San Diego. Whether it’s Governor Newsom in Sacramento or President Trump in Washington, I will work with anyone to make things better for all county residents.”

Among things Lawson-Remer said she wants voters to know are, “I’m a surfer and I’m really excited right now to start teaching my daughter ... how to surf. She’s still a little too young, being all of 1 year, but we’re working on back floating. I’m a wilderness emergency medical responder and in my free time I take kids backpacking to teach self-reliance and respect for nature.”

As for why voters should select her, Lawson-Remer said, “I will put public health first and listen to county health officials to get the pandemic under control, and will defend the Affordable Care Act. I will push San Diego to lead on climate action and protect our environment and open spaces. I will expand access to quality, affordable childcare and I will stand up to the Trump administration’s attacks on our communities.”