In 2017, San Diego County District 3 Supervisor Kristin Gaspar was sworn into office, becoming the youngest woman ever elected to the board of supervisors. This month, Gaspar will become the new chairwoman of the board. Below, the former mayor of Encinitas reflects on her first year in office:
How has your life changed since becoming supervisor?
As mayor, I represented 63,000 people and as supervisor nearly 650,000. I also went from a $110 million dollar budget to over $5 billion at the county. There has obviously been a big learning curve, but I have really enjoyed touring my new district and meeting so many great people. I also feel fortunate working with my new colleagues who have such an excellent track record of accomplishment for the county.
You were the first woman to receive the Associated Builders and Contractors Excellence in Leadership award this year. What have been some of the other rewarding experiences of being a supervisor?
I partnered with Supervisor Dianne Jacob on The Alzheimer's Project. The project’s key goals are continuing research to come up with a cure; enhance awareness; forging partnerships and funding for Alzheimer’s research; improving care and services for those affected by the disease; boosting medical care for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Education and awareness are also important as we conduct a multi-faceted education and public awareness campaign. We will also be supporting state and federal legislation that increases funding for Alzheimer’s research and resources for caregivers, family members and others affected.
I also partnered with Supervisor Dianne Jacob to address a pilot program called Seniors in Crisis. It was developed in East County to more effectively assist seniors who are in crisis and encountering law enforcement or cycling in and out of emergency departments.
In September I co-hosted an Empowerment Summit in partnership with Solutions for Change and Clarence Carter from the federal Office of Family Assistance, to explore new ways to address the region’s toughest social problems. The purpose of the summit was to introduce a new vision where community-based social enterprise solutions fundamentally change the way we approach and assist families and individuals stuck in deep poverty.
What are some of the local impacts/beneficiaries of your Community Enhancement Grants and Neighborhood Reinvestment Program?
District 3 has been fortunate to be able to help dozens of organizations that enhance the quality of life for San Diegans. Some of the community groups and nonprofits that have received funds from my district are: the Scripps Ranch Little League, the Rancho Family YMCA, the Escondido Children’s Museum, as well as the San Diego Children’s Museum, Doors of Change, Just in Time for Foster Youth, Arts for Learning San Diego and Warrior Foundation Freedom Station.
What are your goals and priorities looking ahead?
I’m looking forward to laying out my vision in the State of the County Address on Feb. 27, 2018. The State of the County Address will be held at 6 p.m. at the Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla.