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Special election County District 4 supervisor candidate: Amy Reichert

Amy Reichert is running for the County Board of Supervisors District 4 seat in the Aug. 15 special election, vacated by the resignation of former supervisor Nathan Fletcher. Reichert, 55, is a Republican/Libertarian running for the nonpartisan seat. She grew up in Tierrasanta and has lived in La Mesa since 2014.

Reichert, who is adopted, said she was the first in the family to go to college and graduate, something her mother always encouraged. She graduated from SDSU with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

“In my 20s, after graduating, is when my mom told me my biological mother’s name. That is when I started searching for my biological mother,” she said. “This was before Google, and I found her. The experience taught me that I really love the process of finding people. That is when I became a licensed private investigator. I got my license in California in 1999 and I have had Amy Reichert Investigations ever since.”

Reichert said when she was 30, and eight months pregnant with her first child, her dad, 56, passed away from complications with multiple sclerosis.

“Five weeks later, I had a completely normal healthy pregnancy and healthy baby, but I was a week overdue, and my daughter was born in a coma, and she died in my arms in ICU,” she said. “The reason I tell this story is because right now in San Diego County, we have a mental health crisis. I am somebody who has experience with crisis in my life and through getting the treatment and treatment that I needed, I was able to recover from that horrible crisis, tragedy in my life of losing my father and my daughter within five weeks of each other. I have gone on since that time to become a leader, celebrate recovery, and I have helped thousands of people who struggle with mental health issues, severe addiction issues, and even helped homeless get recovery and treatment.”

Reichert said although her degree was in political science, she did not become politically active until a couple of years ago. She said she does not consider herself a politician, but rather a mother who wants a better life for her children.

“In late 2020 I co-founded a nonprofit dedicated to the safe reopening of schools and businesses, (ReOpen San Diego), she said. “In 2021, a group of 250 police officers from the San Diego Police Department came to us because they said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria wanted to fire them, all first responders, all city workers, three weeks before Christmas and not offer them a religious exemption. That is when we got involved. Thankfully, we were able to organize powerful press conferences featuring thousands of law enforcement, thousands of firefighters, and even thousands of kids. We had a display with over 500 work booths symbolizing what we would lose in San Diego if they were terminated. First responders and city workers did get fired in Los Angeles and New York, but it did not happen here. We have had many other victories besides that. I am extremely proud of the work that we have done for children’s mental health and protecting first responders.”

Reichert challenged Fletcher in 2022, receiving a little over 25% of the vote.

“I was called every name in the book by him,” she said. “The seat has been vacated as he has resigned. Now we find ourselves in a special election. So, I am running to be the next San Diego County supervisor for District 4.”

Reichert said her top three priorities are cost of living, the homeless epidemic, and public safety.

“Those are easy to say but those are very complex issues that are multi-faceted,” she said. “They are not easy solutions, and I am not saying these are easy solutions. But, based on the directions that we have been going over the past seven years. How we have been spending more and more money, we have only seen homelessness get worse.”

Reichert said the number one issue she discusses with people regardless of political affiliation is the “humanitarian crisis which is the homeless issue.”

“We need to move away from the State’s plan of finding housing first,” she said. “The housing first plan, right now, organizations are not allowed to use funds from the state or federal government for treatment programs. Only to provide housing. What we are seeing in places like
El Cajon, motel vouchers are being handed out to wanted felons, have found drug paraphernalia and drugs for sale in these taxpayer’s subsidized motels. There was a sexual assault of a young woman. These sex offenders approached her at a trolley stop and lured her to a nearby motel where they allegedly sexually assaulted her. They are innocent until proven guilty.”

Reichert said housing first does work for some, but not for all, and the issue of homeless encampments must be addressed.

“We must take care of our foster kids. One in four of them experience homelessness when they age out of the system,” she said. “Domestic violence victims, their families, their children, we must care for them. Elderly who cannot afford to live independently. I think housing first works well with these groups, but groups in homeless encampments, those numbers are growing. I did a ride along with a 25-year police veteran and he told me that the major issue nearly 100% of the time is severe issues with addiction to alcohol and drugs and mental illness.”

Reichert said she has a “shelter first with treatment” plan which does not criminalize homelessness.

“You cannot be publicly intoxicated, openly do or deal drugs, or have stolen property. Sheriff Kelly Martinez said there is an intersection of homelessness and crime. The unhoused are either victims of crime or perpetrators of crime. We must protect them. Last year, 588 homeless people lost their lives on the streets for various reasons. This is a 250% increase since 2019, so we must protect them. But we must protect the public also. On a 30, 60, 90-day plan, when someone refuses shelter over and over, they will be given a loving bottom line filled with compassion that says we love you too much to let you live or die on the streets. You need to choose shelter or jail. It is only jail if they have committed criminal offenses. I believe this will help where homelessness and crime are intersecting.”

Reichert said she also supports organizations like Sunbreak Ranch to be a triage center and shelter where the unhoused can go.

“Other organizations could be part of that like the East County Transitional Living Center, Solutions for Change, and then people would be able to get the help and treatment that they need,” she said.

Reichert said the cost of living in the county is affordable housing, “period, end of sentence.”

“The County and the City of San Diego are some of the biggest land owners. We need to use that surplus land to build affordable housing asap. Right now, we are seeing the bulldozing of single- family homes and being built in their place are these 10-story high rises that are very small units, very expensive, and are not for sale. I do not believe that is addressing affordable housing. The population in our county has declined by 50,000 since 2020. I do not believe the kind of housing being built is the kind of housing that will help people. We need more affordable housing.”

“Things have never been worse in San Diego County,” she said “We cannot continue to elect people who spend more and more money only to get worse results.”

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