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Terra Lawson-Remer. Courtesy photo
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Former US Treasury senior advisor joins Supervisor race

REGION —Washington, D.C. feels a world away from San Diego County. 

But former Obama administration official Terra Lawson-Remer believes her work there will serve her well in the District 3 County Board of Supervisors seat. The second-generation San Diegan feels the area deserves more robust public service.

District 3, which stretches from Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, a large chunk of the northern part of the city of San Diego and north into Escondido, is also where Lawson-Remer grew up and attended public schools. 

With an undergraduate degree from Yale and both a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, Lawson-Remer believes her academic training and experience as a senior advisor for the U.S. Department of Treasury will bring a fresh look to the County Board.

“This is home and where my heart is and where I’ve always voted, no matter where I might have been domiciled,” Lawson-Remer said about her decision to return home and run for the seat currently occupied by Supervisor Kristin Gaspar. 

“So, I guess at some point had to make a decision that I was coming back because this was, this is my community and where I want to be and you know, where I want to raise a family and where I want to give back.”

Lawson-Remer rock climbing in Argentina. Courtesy photo

Beyond wanting to get involved in the political process where she grew up, Lawson-Remer is also a passionate surfer.

Encinitas, she says, allows her to surf as much as possible, moving to the city in large part “for the waves.”

Lawson-Remer worked at Stanford University as a former fellow at its Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and currently works as a fellow out of University of California-San Diego at its Center on Global Transformation.

Upon completing her doctoral studies, Lawson-Remer worked as a professor at The New School in New York City. 

From her experience in environmental justice advocacy to her involvement in a lawsuit against California’s curfew law as a high school student, Lawson-Remer said her track record paints a picture of someone with a thirst for social justice. 

But it was anti-Iraq War activism and facing arrest for civil disobedience that led her to believe in the vitality of new representation.

“I really felt like my voice had been totally marginalized and I sort of looked around and thought, ‘You know, what is it going to take to create the kind of change I think we need to see in the world? Because people, power alone is not enough,’” Lawson-Remer said. “So we had a lot of people power, but we needed something else.”

For local politicos, Lawson-Remer may be best known as a leader of Flip the 49th, a multi-year effort to unseat former Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Vista, in the 49th U.S. Congressional District. Issa eventually retired, opening the seat for Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano. 

Lawson-Remer is also the daughter of San Diego Democratic Party operative Larry Remer.

Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election served as a “real wakeup call” to reinvigorate democracy on the local level, according to Lawson-Remer. 

“No matter what you believe, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, you don’t have a lot of space to get much done in Washington because it’s so gridlocked,” Lawson-Remer said.

Despite potential to achieve policy results, Lawson-Remer said the County Board of Supervisors has failed at its job, to-date.

“Nobody in our state and our county thinks the county does anything and they don’t know what the county does. And it’s because the county hasn’t been doing anything,” she said. “It’s only really in San Diego that the county is so invisible and, and frankly, falling down on the job. 

“So I think we can talk about everything from climate change to wild space, conservation to traffic, transportation, affordable housing, immigration. All of these are all areas in which the county should be leading and it’s either doing nothing or often actually obstructionist in putting together a plan that actually good for San Diego and for the county as a whole.”

In particular, Lawson-Remer did not shy away from criticism of Gaspar and the multiple trips she has taken in the past year to attend meetings hosted by President Donald Trump at the White House.

“I mean, she’s not doing her job,” Lawson-Remer said. “She’s spending her time flying back to Washington to kowtow to Donald Trump instead of serving the needs of our community. She has a consistent voting record that doesn’t prioritize the environment, doesn’t prioritize sustainability, doesn’t prioritize climate change, doesn’t prioritize economic inclusion or opportunity.”

Further, Lawson-Remer decried Gaspar’s stance on immigration, saying that she believed building a U.S.-Mexico border wall is a misuse of economic resources needed to fund things like health care and education.

Lawson-Remer says that in the coming months, will roll out her campaign with door-to-door talks with voters, phone-banking and playing host to house parties.

“This is not about a candidate, this is about a community,” she said. “And the work we need to do is to work together to elect leadership that will reflect the future vision we all share for San Diego. It’s not really about me, it’s about we. It’s not about my vision, it’s about our vision.”

6 comments

Linda coker March 2, 2019 at 3:49 pm

I think all Democrats are responsible for the decline of California they have driven business out

Addie March 6, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Don’t let the door hit you in the rearend on the way out Linda. Please move to Idaho. I’m sure you’ll love it there.

Part 4: the 2020 field and who to look out for March 12, 2019 at 9:30 pm

[…] Lawson-Remer: Ms. Lawson-Remer declared her candidacy last month. She co-chaired the Flip the 49th committee which aimed to elect a Democrat to Daryl […]

Part 4: the 2020 field and who to look out for March 27, 2019 at 7:28 am

[…] Lawson-Remer declared her candidacy last month. She co-chaired the Flip the 49th committee which aimed to elect a Democrat to Daryl […]

Todd starling December 3, 2019 at 4:56 pm

Anyone can write a book about the dangers of climate, anti-pollution controls,..though it is important, especially for any travelers if you’ve visited San Antonio, Tx. You simply can’t walk 2 blocks along the river based downtown without taking a asthman inhaler puff…since Texas has no pollution controls, and SA has the most polluted air quality in the state and southwest u,s. Region. That terra hasnt visited or lived in San Diego in 20 yrs, is very troubling, while daddy Larry Remer, an attorney, likely funded her academic lifestyle for 1.5 decades. WE need an experienced politician who represents real issue tackling ability. The academian From UCSD who ran for a high San Diego political office was Peter Navarro who lost on his bid for mayor more than 2 decades ago. Let’s keep it that way,…we need a realist who represents the diverse people of San Diego, not just the Richie Rich. Olga Diaz has that experience, the driving force behind Escondido’s dog friendly parks initiative in 2018,.rather than keeping ex-Mayor insistence on having a senior citizen park oldtimer drive around in truck looking out dog walking/running violators around each of the park, a paranoid example of wasteful city spending at best. EVER the GOP president got elected, GOP racist politics has invaded San Diego and let to local news media becoming ‘whiter with popular Hispanic news anchors loosing their jobs or forced retirement like Nechelle Medina of KFMB, and Carlos Amezcua of KUSI, only old timer Artie Ojeda remains along with newcomer Elizabeth Alvarez.

Ernest Moreno January 6, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Just as I suspected, lawson Remer went and got herself impregnated so she could parade around as some kind of new age super mom. Why else would she become pregnant right in the middle of her campaign. She will now use her, “single mom”, status as some kind of badge to garner votes in her race to beat Olga. Today, she just posted on twitter that she cares about the environment because she is a single mom. Last week she posted a picture of herself with the baby at grape park in Escondido.

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