SAN DIEGO — For the first time in more than 137 years a Latina woman has been voted to become the chairwoman for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Nora Vargas was sworn in as chairwoman on Tuesday.

“It’s a historic moment!” Vargas said. “It’s something that I don’t take lightly.” 

Supervisor Vargas crushed several barriers when the board voted unanimously to make her chairwoman.

She now becomes the first Latina immigrant and woman of color to lead the county for the first time in history.

“I think it’s a sign of the times. I think this is what we need more of, representation really matters. Our DA is a female, our sheriff is a female, but I think more importantly we have an opportunity to work together and really think about what is this going to look like as we move forward to advance our communities,” Vargas said. 

And another first, Vargas will lead alongside Tera Lawson-Remer, who’s returning as vice chair. 

The women have worked closely over the last two years on dozens of projects and initiatives.

“We have already begun the process of forging a close working relationship and we share the vision around equity and environmental sustainability, and I think we’re just going to be a great team for the next year,” Lawson-Remer said.

Vargas, who credits her family for how far she has come, said her focus will be on the community and putting families first and making sure everyone has access to services for those who need them.

“We’re going to be faced with some tough times,” Vargas said. “We’re transitioning from the pandemic. Many of our folks are really suffering we still have kids that go to sleep hungry.”

And more broadly, Vargas and Lawson Remer share the same vision for many issues facing the San Diego County region.

“Climate change and tackling climate, affordable housing, homelessness. Expanding and building our green economy and our green workforce and trying to create really good jobs for working families in the green economy here,” Lawson Remer explained.