01.13.2023 | News Release

On Friday morning, San Diego County Supervisor and Chairwoman Nora Vargas was elected to lead the SANDAG Board of Directors as Chair for 2023-2024. 

“I don’t take this responsibility lightly,” said Chairwoman Vargas. “I appreciate that you have entrusted me with the opportunity to serve as the next Chair and am committed to making sure that we’re elevating transparency and accessibility, not only within the Board, but more importantly, for our communities that we represent.”

As the previous SANDAG Vice Chair, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria opened the meeting and led Friday’s election. Gloria has been vocal in his support for Vargas as Chair. 

“Supervisor Vargas has established herself as a true leader and champion not only for just the residents of her district, but all the people of San Diego County. There’s no doubt that she will be an exceptional leader for the SANDAG Board as we work to tackle our housing and climate crises and execute critical projects like the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry and stabilizing the LOSSAN Corridor at the Del Mar Bluffs,” said Gloria. “She will bring to this position genuine empathy, intelligence, courage, and a relentless drive to improve the quality of life for all. I congratulate her on becoming SANDAG’s new Board Chair.” 

Chairwoman Vargas previously served SANDAG as Chair of the Transportation Committee and succeeds California State Senator Catherine Blakespear, who served as SANDAG Chair since 2021. 

Chairwoman Vargas is also a member of the Air Pollution Control District and County representative to the California State Association of Counties and National Association of Counties. Governor Gavin Newsom also appointed Chairwoman Vargas to serve on the California Air Resources Board. 

At Friday’s meeting, San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera was elected to serve as SANDAG Board Vice Chair. 

“SANDAG plays a pivotal role in our region’s economic development, sustainability, housing, and equity for residents, and I hope to help the Board find the best path forward for the San Diego region,” said Vice Chair Elo-Rivera.

Elo-Rivera was recently elected for his second term as Council President of the San Diego City Council and represents the City’s Ninth District. 

Solana Beach Mayor Lesa Heebner was elected to serve as SANDAG Board Second Vice Chair. 

“I look forward to being on the leadership team to help bring this Board together and to work toward the betterment of our region, including every city and jurisdiction,” said Second Vice Chair Heebner.

Heebner has served the City of Solana Beach for nearly 20 years. She is also one of the longest serving members of the SANDAG Board and was the Chair of the SANDAG Regional Planning Committee for three years. 

To learn more about SANDAG’s priority projects, visit SANDAG.org/2022annualreport.

To view the full recording of the Friday, January 13 Board meeting, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziwugN0luTk