SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — One of the bigger races that San Diegans will be watching on June 7 is the fight for a spot on the San Diego County's Board of Supervisors in District 4.
The district includes parts of Kearny Mesa, Downtown, Mission Valley, the College Area and La Mesa.
The seat is currently held by Chair Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who is running for a second term.
Democrat Fletcher is a Marine veteran who led the county through the pandemic, helping set guidelines for business closures, masking and vaccine distribution. He is endorsed by the Union Tribune’s editorial board.
Republican Amy Reichert is a state-licensed investigator. She fiercely drove the ReOpen San Diego movement and vows to never vote to raise taxes.
Democrat Sidiqa Hooker is a diversity and inclusion coordinator and believes her age of 27 is an asset, drawing in young voters.
ABC 10News asked each candidate about three priority issues, including the pandemic, homelessness, and the housing crisis.
On the topic of the pandemic, Sup. Fletcher affirms that the strict measures taken with business and school closures, and masking policies, were the correct decisions at the time.
“You don't make decisions with the benefit of hindsight. You make decisions with the information that you have in front of you, and I think as a county we did the very best that we could, but the voters have a clear choice in choosing me for another term. They can choose someone who believes the science and who trusted the public health experts and who did everything we could, and it is without question that our efforts saved lives,” he added.
He is a proponent of the COVID-19 vaccine and has encouraged his constituents to get vaccinated.
Reichert told ABC 10News, “The person that we've been fighting is chiefly responsible for the lockdowns here in San Diego has been Nathan Fletcher so that's why I decided to run.”
Reichert co-founded ReOpen San Diego which believes that lockdowns destroy lives. She and her supporters think that the government does not have authority to decide which businesses are essential or not. When asked if she is vaccinated, she said that she and her family are fully vaccinated, but then clarified. She went on to explain how the COVID-19 vaccine is not a silver bullet and that she and her family remain unvaccinated for COVID-19.
“I'm vaccine-hesitant. I just don't know what we don't know about the long-term effects of it and so I decided to take a ‘wait and see’ [approach],” she explained.
Hooker told ABC 10News that she would have liked to have seen more consistency with which types of businesses got to stay open and which ones didn't. She said that she believes the shutdowns could have been handled with more care and equity, and that individuals should be left to make their own decisions masking and vaccines.
“I don't think we prioritized our youth,” she explained and added in part, “We saw private schools open up sooner and some didn't ever close, and it exhibited classism.”
She said that she is fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
On the issue of homelessness, Sup. Fletcher stated “[We have] mobile crisis response teams countywide, our sixth crisis stabilization unit up and running. [We have] historic and unprecedented investment in new sheltering opportunities and so we are moving in the right direction.”
Reichert told ABC 10News, “I really like the plan in El Cajon where there's homeless outreach teams and these homeless outreach teams are staffed with social workers and mental health workers and through building a relationship, they can successfully get people into shelters and off the streets by a rate of 40 percent. Isn't that a plan that we should be replicating all throughout the county?”
Hooker explained, “Our homeless population has been struggling with drug addiction and struggling with mental illness and so I could definitely create initiatives to create more services to acknowledge [those issues] within the population, as well as build more housing to assist them with living.”
When asked about the high cost of living, Sup. Fletcher stated in part, “We are making progress. We've got more than a thousand units of affordable housing under construction, underway on county-owned land. We issued more building permits this year to build more housing than we have going back many, many years."
Reichert explained, “Right now, the cost of housing in San Diego is just ridiculous and what goes along with that is property taxes because it's proportional to the sales price. So, who's benefiting the most right now from the inflation and the high housing costs in San Diego? It's the government.”
Hooker said that she would work to override restrictive mandates. “Some of the mandates are definitely preventing us from building at the rate that we need to address the population,” she added.
Following next Tuesday's primary election, two of the three candidates will head to November’s runoff election to ultimately earn a seat for the next four years.