2022 Witkin Awards: Nathan Fletcher

Nathan Fletcher, San Diego County Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher was named a Witkin Award winner in 2022 for Excellence in Public Service. Nathan Fletcher serves as Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. As Chair, he is committed to ushering in a new era of bold, progressive policymaking which aims to transform San Diego County for the better. He is focused on transforming our approach to behavioral health, making substantial investment in our mental health and drug treatment programs. A committed environmentalist, Chair Fletcher uses his position on the California Air Resources Board, Board of Supervisors and as Chair of the Metropolitan Transit Agency to ensure we tackle climate change and work to ensure environmental justice.

Starting in 2019, Chair Fletcher was the single voice of progressive policy on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. He joined a Board steeped in conservative values, but his skills as a policymaker generated almost 100 substantive policy changes, in just two years. His policies to build a better behavioral health services system, fight for environmental justice, make racial justice and equity a County priority; and improve the circumstances for children, working families and immigrants are driving the County in a new direction. Now, as Chair of the Board of Supervisors, he has laid out a bold agenda for the future to build upon the progress he’s already made.

Prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors, Nathan Fletcher showed a commitment to public service and leadership in tackling some of our toughest challenges. His life experiences range from leading classified human intelligence missions in combat zones and being decorated for valor under fire, to passing landmark legislation as a member of the California State Legislature, to training Nobel Prize winning human rights activists in the developing world.

As Chair, Fletcher is leading a new group of Supervisors with a Democratic majority and consistent progressive values. This year, he’s created a Framework for the Future of San Diego County, which prioritizes communities and populations in San Diego that have been historically left behind. Through this Framework, Chair Fletcher is continuing his fight for: racial justice, health equity, economic opportunity, environmental protection, & government transparency.

Behavioral Health is Chair Fletcher’s highest priority as a policymaker. It is the intersection of mental health and drug treatment services. He is working to fix a system that is fragmented. His vision is to build a patient-centered, care coordination system that ensures those in need get the right care at the right time, and, most importantly, get tailored outcomes to improve their lives.

He is also the Chair of the Board of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System; serves as the Governor’s appointee to the California Air Resources Board; is co-chair of the Child and Family Strengthening Advisory Board; and is a member of the San Diego County Behavioral Health Advisory Board. His commitment to public service runs deep.

Prior to serving as a County Supervisor, Chair Fletcher was a former California State Assemblymember, who was recognized as one of California’s most effective legislators. During his tenure, he passed more than 30 laws to expand healthcare coverage, protect homeowners during the foreclosure crisis, strengthen public safety, and increase support services for veterans and the homeless. Notably, Assemblyman Fletcher authored Chelsea’s Law — landmark public safety legislation which strengthened penalties for violent crimes against children.

Before entering public office, he served as a Counterintelligence/Human Intelligence Specialist in the Marine Corps and served two combat tours in Iraq, the Near East, and the Horn of Africa. For his service, he earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat “V” for valor along with other awards. A proud Veteran’s advocate, Chair Fletcher founded the Three Wise Men Veterans Foundation to help eliminate stigma surrounding Post-Traumatic Stress and launched the “Honorably Discharged, Dishonorably Deported” campaign to spotlight the unjust deportation of veterans. He successfully brought home previously deported veterans.

Additionally, Chair Fletcher has worked with international non-governmental organizations to build and improve democracies and protect human rights in countries including: East Timor, Cambodia, Serbia, and Myanmar. He also has served as the Senior Director of Global Strategic Initiatives for Qualcomm Incorporated, working around the world on the intersection of jobs, technology, and education, striving to promote innovation, economic growth, and corporate responsibility. From these experiences, Chair Fletcher has gained considerable knowledge of the way the world works & the value of strong diplomatic relationships.

Currently, Chair Fletcher also spends his time teaching courses on public service, political science, California government, & civil rights, as a Professor of Practice at the University of California, San Diego. He thoroughly enjoys the ability to inspire the next generation of engaged public servants, equipping them to meet the challenges of today & tomorrow.

In his personal time, Chair Fletcher is an Ironman Triathlete and avid outdoorsman who enjoys surfing, alpine mountaineering, and glacier climbing. He and his wife, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, have five children and live in the vibrant City Heights community of San Diego, California within the Fourth Supervisorial District.