Nathan Fletcher (born December 31, 1976) is an American politician, businessman, and educator who served two terms in the California State Assembly. He currently serves as a senior director of global strategic initiatives at Qualcomm, Inc. and a Professor of Practice in Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.
Early life and education
Fletcher was born and spent the early years of his life in Carson City, Nevada. His parents divorced when he was 2 years old, and his mother Sherrie moved with him to Smackover, Arkansas. There she met and married Danny Farley, who worked at an International Paper factory. His biological father, Randy Fletcher, a former deputy sheriff, obtained a custody decree in Nevada. Randy Fletcher then drove to Arkansas, where he took Nathan from his mother and returned to Nevada with him. A Nevada judge granted custody to Randy Fletcher with visitation rights for Sherrie. Nathan describes his father as abusive and said this period of his life was "a living hell". When Nathan was 8, Randy Fletcher voluntarily sent Nathan back to live with his mother; he remained with her and Danny Farley for the rest of his childhood. He says that when he talks about his Dad, he is referring to his stepfather Danny Farley, whom he counts as his only father figure. His childhood and family background became an issue during his campaign for mayor, when opponents accused him of dishonesty because of apparent inconsistencies in talking about his father. He had tried to keep the details of his background private, but faced with the accusations he and his mother gave an interview to KPBS in which they explained the apparent contradictions as resulting from the difference between his father and his stepfather.
He graduated from Smackover High School and moved west to California, earning a Bachelor of Science in political science from California Baptist University. He then worked for the International Republican Institute, a nongovernmental organizations seeking to build and improve democracies around the world. This included time abroad working with non-governmental organizations in Myanmar, East Timor, Cambodia and Serbia.
Fletcher joined the United States Marine Corps as a reservist in 1997 and became an active duty Marine in 2002. He served as a counterintelligence/human intelligence specialist. In 2007 he was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne Course and Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center.
In 2004, he served eight months in the Sunni Triangle region of Iraq. Among his awards from this tour are the Navy–Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat "V" for valor, Combat Action Ribbon, and Iraqi Campaign Medal. He worked in the Horn of Africa on his final deployment, and earning the Joint Service Commendation Medal and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
During his time in Iraq, Fletcher worked to build community relationships with the native population, leading supervisors to describe him as "compassionate and focused." On April 9, 2004, Fletcher and three other Marines fended off an enemy ambush when participating in a Quick Reaction Force to aid a VIP convoy. He was responsible for authorizing 150 intelligence reports, which amounted to 31 percent of the reports generated by the team of 6 Counter Intelligence Marines.
Legislative and political career
In 2008 he was elected to the Assembly representing the 75th Assembly District, which includes the City of Poway, portions of Escondido, La Jolla, University City, Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Peñasquitos, and Carmel Valley, and the communities of Fairbanks Ranch, and Rancho Santa Fe. He won with 52.2% of the vote. He was re-elected in 2010 with 60.5% of the vote.
In his first term, Fletcher had a number of pieces of legislation signed into law, including legislation relating to veterans, job creation, water infrastructure, and health care. He was chosen as one of two Republican Party whips in 2010.
Fletcher is best known for his sponsorship of Chelsea's Law, which toughened penalties and restrictions on violent sexual predators. On February 25, 2010, 17-year-old Chelsea King was murdered by John Albert Gardner when jogging at a local community park in Rancho Bernardo. Garner was a registered sex offender at the time of the murder and later admitted to killing 14-year-old Amber DuBois in 2009. In response to the public outrage, Fletcher sponsored Chelsea's Law to prevent future tragedies by offering life without parole sentencing to criminal charged with violent sex offenses. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 10, 2010 
In May 2010, Fletcher gave an Assembly floor speech in support of California Senate Joint Resolution 9, which called upon Congress and the President to repeal the U. S. Armed Forces policy known as "Don't ask, don't tell" (DADT). Fletcher, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and other locations, was the first California Republican legislator (he later joined the Democratic Party) to endorse ending this policy. His impassioned speech was described as "one of the most eloquent on the floor for some time."
Fletcher was a large proponent of implementing a Mandatory Single Sales Tax on out-of-state corporations that conduct business in California, but operate outside the state. The legislation, supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, would have closed a loophole in the tax code and used the savings to offer tax incentives to local industries in order to spawn in-State job creation. Fletcher's vote was instrumental in obtaining a two-thirds majority vote to guarantee the bill's passage in the Assembly during the final meeting of the 2011 legislative session. The bill, however, failed in the California State Senate.
Other notable legislation that Fletcher supported include the Corporate Tax and Middle Class Scholarship Fund, Assembly Bill 877 Prohibiting Discrimination Against Transgendered Individuals, and the Foreclosure Reduction Act.
In 2012, Fletcher helped prevent a janitor's strike in San Diego by calling CEOs on behalf of workers to advocate for expanding health care coverage.
Campaign for Mayor of San Diego
In June 2011, Fletcher announced his candidacy for the mayorship of San Diego. Fletcher started the race as a registered Republican. However, a few weeks after the local Republican party endorsed DeMaio, Fletcher announced he was leaving the Republican party and becoming an independent. Fletcher ultimately came in third in the June 2012 primary and did not advance to the general election.
On August 20, 2013 Fletcher officially filed his intention to be a mayoral candidate with the City Clerk's Office—a day before a tentative agreement was reached for Mayor Bob Filner's resignation. He was endorsed by California Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris. However, in the election held November 19, 2013 he came in third with 24.3 percent of the vote and thus did not advance to the runoff election in February 2014. On November 20 he conceded and endorsed fellow Democrat David Alvarez. He added that he intends to withdraw from public life and that "this election marks the end of my time in politics".
Following his campaign loss for Mayor in 2013, Fletcher spent a month in South America climbing Aconcagua (highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas). In an essay titled, "What a South American Mountain Taught me about Life, Loss, and Politics" he discussed the campaign loss, the combat deaths of several of his friends and his own turbulent childhood in the context of climbing a mountain and the poem "Invictus". 
Change of political parties
In March 2012, midway through his campaign for mayor of San Diego, Fletcher announced that he was quitting the Republican Party to become an independent. His announcement came a few weeks after the San Diego County Republican Party endorsed rival Republican Carl DeMaio. The decision generated a flurry of publicity and a surge in the polls. However, he placed third in the June 2012 primary election for with 24.00% of the vote.
Fletcher has repeatedly said that his departure from the Republican Party was due to extreme partisan politics and to the party's shift away from his core values. During his term in the Assembly he often voted with the Democrats or worked across the aisle to develop bipartisan bills. On May 4, 2013, Fletcher announced on his Facebook page that he was joining the Democratic Party. Fletcher was widely embraced by Democratic Leaders, many of whom had been courting him for years to join the party.
Following the end of his legislative term in December 2, 2012, Fletcher became the senior director of corporate development at Qualcomm. He said in a statement that his position will include developing global strategies for wireless health initiatives, mobile education and the protection of intellectual property but will not involve lobbying or government relations.
In January 2013, Fletcher was appointed as the first Professor of Practice (officially an Adjunct Professor) at the University of California San Diego. He teaches classes in the department of political science, as well as mentoring and advising students and helping to develop public policy projects. Professor of Practice is a new, privately funded position at the University intended to "provid(e) students with a deeper understanding of the practical application of a particular field of study, and help promote the integration of academic scholarship with practical experience from applications professionals.”
Political and community activities
Fletcher remains politically active; supporting Democratic candidates and progressive causes. He is a member of the national advisory board of Organizing for Action, the successor organization of President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. He is a member of the Statewide Leadership Council of the Public Policy Institute of California, and a member of the Aspen Institute Global Alliances Program Advisory Board. He is also a member of the National Advisory Board of the Truman National Security Project. He is a delegate of the California Democratic Party and has been active in supporting Democratic candidates and causes such as efforts to raise the minimum wage. He also remains involved in efforts to ensure implementation of Chelsea’s Law. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Human Rights,. He is a Kauffman Fellow and Tribeca Innovative Disruptive Fellow.
On March 13, 2013, Fletcher brought together law enforcement, community, business, labor and faith-based leaders to form San Diegans United for Common Sense Immigration Reform. The coalition came to an agreement to advocate for a pathway to citizenship, reform to the immigrant visa system, smart border security, and basic human rights.
Fletcher is an Ironman Triathlete, marathon runner, alpine mountaineer and mountain biker. In 2003 he married Mindy Tucker, who had served as campaign manager and deputy chief of staff for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The couple has two adopted children. They separated on December 1, 2014, and in January 2015 they filed for divorce. In an NBC story they issued a joint statement, “We have made the best decision for our family. It is an amicable divorce and we remain good friends. Our first priority is our children and we hope that everyone will respect our privacy as we make this transition.” In September 2015, Nathan began dating Lorena Gonzalez, who currently serves in the California State Assembly representing California's 80th District.They were married January 1, 2017.
Fletcher has served on the Board of Directors for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Historical Society, a member of The American Legion, life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, member of the board of directors of the San Diego Opera, Executive Committee of CONNECT, Community Advisory Council for Voices for Children, and the San Diego Regional Advisory Council of the California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.
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- "First-in-the-Nation Legislative Package Will Make Foreclosure Process Fairer, Hold Banks Accountable". http://www.responsiblelending.org. Center for Responsible Lending. Retrieved 7 July 2014. External link in
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- "San Diego mayor race: Alvarez, Faulconer expected to meet in runoff". ABC 10 News. November 19, 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
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- Fletcher, Nathan. "Our Modern-Day Crisis". San Diego Magazine. Retrieved 15 Feb 2013.
- "Faculty/Staff Directory: Fletcher, Nathan". UCSD. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
- Organizing for Action
- Public Policy Institute of California
- Aspen Institute Advisory Board
- Truman Project board of advisors
- World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Human Rights
- Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards
- Cavanaugh, Maureen (13 March 2013). "San Diego Leaders Tackle Immigration Reform". KPBS. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
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- "Chamber turns on the charm". Sacramento Bee. February 12, 2006. p. D1.
- Krueger, Paul (March 2, 2015). "Former State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher Files for Divorce". NBC San Diego. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- "2 Local Pols Confirm Romance Rumors". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
- "Society SitRep". San Diego, CA: Marine Corps Recruit Depot Historical Society. July 2010. Retrieved 2012-04-01.