Nora E. Vargas was sworn in on January 4, 2021, to represent San Diego County’s First Supervisorial District. A first-generation immigrant, Supervisor Vargas is the first Latina, first binational, and first woman of color to serve as County Supervisor in the near 200-year history of the County of San Diego. She served as Vice-Chair of the Board for her first two terms, and on January 10, 2023 was unanimously elected Chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors.
As Co-Chair of the County's COVID-19 subcommittee, Chairwoman Vargas has led efforts to mitigate the impacts of the global pandemic, with a strong focus on economic recovery from an equity lens. She serves as Chairwoman for SANDAG, member of the Air Pollution Control District, and County representative to the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), and National Association of Counties (NACo). In February 2022, Chairwoman Vargas was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to serve on the California Air Resources Board.
Prior to her election to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Chairwoman Vargas served as an appointee to the 12-member California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) board. For seven years she also served as a member of the Southwestern College Governing Board, the only public institution of higher education in San Diego’s South County. Chairwoman Vargas brings over 25 years of executive leadership experience to the Board of Supervisors, having served as a nonprofit Senior Executive and as the first Latina executive for the second largest reproductive health care provider in the nation, where she focused on local, state, and national advocacy centered on safe, quality health care and education for women and families across California.
Chairwoman Vargas has been dedicated to removing barriers for underserved communities through civic engagement, public policy and community organizing for more than two decades. Through public service she is working to drive positive change and serve her community. Additionally, she has served on numerous local, statewide, and national boards and commissions. She currently serves as a Board member for the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) and is an Advisory Board for Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE).
In 2021, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce recognized Chairwoman Vargas with the Cross-Border Collaboration Award for her leadership in creating the nation’s first binational vaccination program together with the Mexican Consulate in San Diego and the Consejo de Desarrollo de Tijuana. In 2019, the California Legislature presented her with the Woman of the Year Award representing the 80th Assembly District. San Diego Metro Magazine has named her one of their 20 Women Who Impact San Diego and she has been honored with the Latinos Making a Difference Award by San Diego Magazine. She is an alumnus of LEAD San Diego and an Aspen Fellow.
Chairwoman Vargas is proud to serve the more than 630,000 residents of District 1 which encompasses the incorporated cities of Chula Vista, Imperial, Beach, National City and communities within the City of San Diego, including Barrio Logan, Chollas View, Golden Hill, Grant Hill, La Playa, Lincoln Park, Logan Heights, Memorial, Mount Hope, Mountain View, Nestor, Otay, Palm City, San Ysidro, Shelltown, Sherman Heights, Southcrest, South Park, Stockton, and East Village in Downtown San Diego. The district also includes the unincorporated communities of Bonita, Spring Valley - La Presa, Sunny-side, Lincoln Acres and East Otay Mesa.
Chairwoman Vargas was raised between the border cities of San Diego and Tijuana and is the oldest of four siblings. She graduated from Montgomery High School in South San Diego, attended Southwestern College, later transferring to the University of San Francisco where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with an emphasis on peace and justice studies and did graduate work in women's studies (degree to be conferred) at Claremont Graduate University.
Chairwoman Vargas lives in the community of Chula Vista with her rescue dogs Rocco and Bruno.