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Meet the candidates in the special election for District 4 Supervisor

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SAN DIEGO — The special election to fill the vacant District 4 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is about two weeks away and voters are already bubbling in their ballots.

The Aug. 15 primary will be the first election to fill the former Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s seat on the county board following his resignation in May amid accusations of sexual misconduct in his role as chairman of the MTS board.

Since his resignation, four candidates have launched bids to vie for the vacant seat: Marine Corps veteran Janessa Goldbeck, retired Marine Paul McQuigg, San Diego City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe and founder of “Reopen San Diego” Amy Reichert.

If a candidate garners more than 50% of the vote during the primary, they will assume the role for the remainder of the term, which runs into January 2027. If a candidate does not meet that threshold, the special general election will move to a runoff on Nov. 7 with the top two candidates.

For those District 4 voters who haven’t yet decided who they want to cast their ballot for, below is an introduction to the candidates running to represent the supervisorial seat.

Here are the candidates, listed in alphabetical order:

Janessa Goldbeck

Janessa Goldbeck, 37, is the CEO of the nonprofit Vet Voice Foundation and an LGBTQ+ advocate. The Democrat announced her candidacy for the District 4 seat in February, when Fletcher appeared poised to assume Toni Atkins’ Senate seat.

Janessa Goldbeck pictured. (Courtesy of Janessa Goldbeck)
Janessa Goldbeck pictured. (Courtesy of Janessa Goldbeck)

Should she be elected, Goldbeck would be the first openly LGBTQ+ woman to serve as a supervisor in the district.

Background:

Goldbeck grew up in San Diego County and currently resides in Talmadge. A Marine Corps veteran, she founded her nonprofit to advocate for veterans and military families, including working with the Biden administration to expand veteran healthcare benefits.

In addition to deployment overseas, the former Combat Engineer Officer served as an advocate for victims of sexual assault within the military. Locally, she has also served on multiple task forces and community boards, including the County of San Diego’s Behavioral Health Advisory Board, the board of MANA de San Diego and the San Diego Mayor’s LGBT Task Force.

Goldbeck has not held political office. However, she previously ran for office in 2020, seeking to succeed U.S. Rep. Susan Davis as the representative for the 53rd congressional district. Garnering 8.5% of the vote in the primary, she did not make it to the general election.

On the Issues:

In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board, Goldbeck said her top priorities as a supervisor would be to “shift toward pragmatic governance that addresses things that make a difference in people’s lives.”

On her campaign website, she said she plans to focus on issues including: homelessness and housing affordability, strengthening the safety net for at-risk residents, shortages of behavioral health workers and gun violence prevention.

A breakdown of how she plans to address some of her priorities can be found below:

  • Homelessness
    • Expanding shelter, mental health services and long-term care options through investments in Crisis Stabilization Units, detox beds, shelters with wrap-around services and more safe parking and camping lots.
  • Strengthen Safety Net
    • Expand stipend programs, like the pilot for seniors on a fixed income, run by the county to cover increasing costs of rents for residents at-risk of homelessness, including veterans.
  • Public Safety
    • Collaborate with law enforcement, social service agencies and community organizations to invest in services that alleviate the burden on public safety officers while focusing on bolstering staffing where it’s needed.

Endorsements:

According to her campaign website, endorsements Goldbeck has picked up include: California State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas, San Diego Democrats for Equality, San Diego County Firefighters, retired U.S. Rep. Susan Davis, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliot and the San Diego County Medical Society.

Paul McQuigg

Paul McQuigg, 46, is a retired Marine gunnery sergeant and field representative for the U.S. Census Bureau. The Republican was the fourth candidate to declare their intention to run for the District 4 seat, announcing his bid in mid-June.

A headshot of Paul McQuigg. (Courtesy of Paul McQuigg)
A headshot of Paul McQuigg. (Courtesy of Paul McQuigg)

Background:

Born in Ohio, McQuigg moved to San Diego in 1997 after joining the Marine Corps. He currently resides in Ridgeview-Webster.

McQuigg was deployed on several combat tours. In 2006, he was seriously wounded in a bomb blast, prompting him to help found the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West at Camp Pendleton for other injured servicemembers. He was honorably discharged in 2017.

After retiring from the Marines, McQuigg started working with the U.S. Census Bureau. He has also volunteered around his community, including coaching youth sports and serving as a Big Brother.

McQuigg has not held political office and this is his first campaign to do so. However, he has previously served in advisory role with the Police and Fire Commission in Oceanside.

On the issues:

In an interview with the Union-Tribune, McQuigg said he decided to run for the position to “keep the county a great place to raise a family and to call home.”

The three biggest issues he noted in the interview as priorities that he would have, should he be elected, are homelessness, the high crime rate, and the continuously rising cost of living.

A breakdown of how McQuigg plans to address these priorities can be found below:

  • Homelessness
    • Build a 500-bed inpatient facility that focuses on mental health treatment and drug addiction for homeless individuals, creating a “one stop campus” for services.
  • Cost of Living
    • Curb high taxes, rents and utilities — specifically encouraging the purchase of mobile homes, use of solar energy to shift away from SDG&E and use water desalination plants.
  • Public Safety
    • Introduce incentives to recruit new police staff or encourage transfers from other departments, such as a home-buying program offered to officers and deputies or bonuses to attend specialized schooling.

Endorsements:

McQuigg has no listed endorsements on his campaign website.

Monica Montgomery Steppe

Monica Montgomery Steppe, 44, is a current City Councilmember for the city of San Diego’s fourth fourth district. The Democrat was the second person to announce their candidacy for District 4 supervisorial seat, launching her campaign in April.

Monica Montgomery Steppe’s official headshot for the San Diego City Council.

Should she be elected, Montgomery Steppe would be the first Black woman to serve as supervisor in the district.

Background:

Born and raised in San Diego, Montgomery Steppe says she has lived in District 4 for most of her life. She currently resides in Skyline-Hills.

An attorney by trade, she served as a public service lawyer before entering elected office, serving as an advocate for families during the Great Recession foreclosure crisis and the American Civil Liberties Union. She also worked as a Senior Policy Advisor on criminal justice reform, workforce development, small business development and equal opportunity contracting for the City of San Diego.

Montgomery Steppe assumed office in the City Council in 2018, where she serves as President pro Tem and chair of the Budget & Government Efficiency Committee. She also sits on the San Diego City-County Reinvestment Task Force, the MTS board, the San Diego Workforce Partnership and the San Diego Housing Authority.

On the issues:

In her role with the City Council, Montgomery Steppe has focused on issues relating to public safety, law enforcement oversight, homelessness and access to mental health services.

In an interview with the Union-Tribune Editorial Board, Montgomery Steppe said that she would use that experience in public service to focus on the following priorities: the issue of homelessness, increase economic opportunity and build a “holistic public safety ecosystem.”

On her campaign website, she laid out some of the ways she wants to address these priorities, including:

  • Homelessness
    • Increasing the supply of shelters, affordable housing and wraparound services like case management, job training and mental health treatment.
  • Public Safety
    • Investing in the public safety ecosystem to ensure first responders and neighborhoods have the resources they need to prevent crime, while establishing greater law enforcement oversight and investing in community-based alternatives to policing and incarceration.
  • Increase economic opportunity
    • Promote healthy communities by investing in them to reduce social determinants like poverty, discrimination and lack of access to healthy food; while creating fair economic opportunities for local business growth.

Endorsements:

According to her campaign website, Montgomery Steppe has garnered many key endorsements including: the San Diego County Democratic Party, the Union-Tribune Editorial Board, the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber, U.S. Rep. Sara Jacobs and San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera.

Amy Reichert

Amy Reichert, 55, is a licensed public investigator and founder of the nonprofit, Reopen San Diego. Reichert was the third candidate to announce a bid for the District 4 seat in the special election for Fletcher’s seat, launching her campaign in May.

Amy Reichert
Amy Reichert pictured. (Courtesy of Amy Reichert)

Should she be elected, Reichert would be the first woman to serve as supervisor in the district.

Background:

Adopted as an infant, Reichert grew up in San Diego. She currently resides in La Mesa. Graduating from San Diego State University, Reichert owns a business, Amy Reichert Investigations, helping clients locate missing persons and uncover fraud, among other things.

She got involved in local governance during the pandemic, founding her nonprofit to advocate in opposition to COVID-19 closures and mask and vaccine mandates. She also used to work with those in addiction recovery with the Christian 12-step program, Celebrate Recovery.

Reichert has not held political office. However, she challenged Fletcher for the District 4 supervisorial seat in his 2022 re-election bid. She ultimately lost the election, garnering 35.4% of the vote in the general.

On the issues:

In an interview with the Union-Tribune Editorial Board, Reichert described feeling disheartened seeing how quality of life issues have contributed to San Diegans leaving the county. As Supervisor, she said would priorities issues that could help restore “crown jewel communities” in the county.

On her campaign website, she says she would focus on lowering the cost of living, solving the homeless epidemic and increasing public safety.

Some of the ways she plans to address these issues can be found below:

  • Cost of Living
    • Reducing governmental costs and project approval time relating to housing construction.
  • Homelessness
    • Expanding Homeless Outreach with more teams of social workers, mental health care personnel and law enforcement, while also increasing the number of psychiatric beds and Crisis Stabilization Units.
  • Public Safety
    • Against budget cuts to law enforcement and will focus on recruiting more deputies to the Sheriff’s Department.

Endorsements:

According to her campaign website, endorsements Reichert has received include: the San Diego County Republican Party, the California Republican Party, County Supervisor Joel Anderson, County Supervisor Jim Desmond, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, U.S. Rep. Kevin Kiley, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey and the East County Chamber of Commerce.

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