Nathan Fletcher

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Nathan Fletcher
Nathan Fletcher 2013.jpg
Fletcher in 2013
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 75th district
In office
December 1, 2008 – December 3, 2012
Preceded by George Plescia
Succeeded by Marie Waldron
Personal details
Born (1976-12-31) December 31, 1976 (age 41)
Carson City, Nevada
Nationality American
Political party Republican (until 2012)[1]
Unaffiliated (2012-2013)
Democratic (2013-)
Spouse(s) Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher
Residence San Diego, California
Alma mater California Baptist University
Occupation Businessman/Educator

Combat Action Ribbon.svg Combat Action Ribbon
Joint Service Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Joint Service Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (V)
Iraq Campaign Medal ribbon.svg Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal

Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal ribbon.svg Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal
Website Nathan Fletcher
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1997-2007
Unit United States Marine Corps Reserves
Battles/wars Iraq War

Nathan Fletcher (born December 31, 1976) is an American politician and educator who served two terms in the California State Assembly.[2] He currently serves as a Professor of Practice in Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.[2] He is also a candidate for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in the 2018 election for the County's 4th district.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Childhood photo of Fletcher standing with Governor Bill Clinton in Arkansas.

Fletcher was born and spent the early years of his life in Carson City, Nevada. His parents divorced when he was two 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.[2]

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,[4] a nongovernmental organizations seeking to build and improve democracies around the world.[5] This included time abroad working with non-governmental organizations in Myanmar, East Timor, Cambodia, and Serbia.[6]

Military service[edit]

Fletcher served 8 months in the Sunni Triangle region of Iraq during 2004.

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.[7]

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" a combat distinguishing device,[8] Combat Action Ribbon, and Iraqi Campaign Medal.[8] 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.[8]

During his time in Iraq, Fletcher worked to build community relationships with the native population, leading supervisors to describe him as "compassionate and focused."[9] 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.[10] He was responsible for authorizing 150 intelligence reports, which amounted to 31 percent of the reports generated by the team of six Counter Intelligence Marines.[10]

Legislative and political career[edit]

State Assembly[edit]

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.[11] He was re-elected in 2010 with 60.5% of the vote.[12]

Fletcher served two terms in the California State Assembly

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.[13] He was chosen as one of two Republican Party whips in 2010.[14]

Fletcher is best known for his sponsorship of Chelsea's Law, which toughened penalties and restrictions on violent sexual predators.[15] 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.[16] The bill was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 10, 2010 [17]

In May 2010, Fletcher gave an Assembly floor speech[18] 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."[19]

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.[20] 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.[21][22]

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.[23]

Campaign for Mayor of San Diego[edit]

In June 2011, Fletcher announced his candidacy for the mayorship of San Diego.[24] 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 to become an independent.[25] Fletcher ultimately came in third in the June 2012 primary and did not advance to the general election.[26]

Supporters gather around Fletcher during his 2013 Mayoral bid.

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.[27] He was endorsed by California Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris.[28] 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.[29] On November 20, he conceded and endorsed fellow Democrat David Alvarez. He added that he intended to withdraw from public life and that "this election marks the end of my time in politics".[30]

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". [31]

Campaign for county supervisor[edit]

Fletcher is currently a candidate for an open seat representing District 4 on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. There are five candidates in the June 2018 primary; the top two will advance to the November 2018 general election.[32]

Change of political parties[edit]

Fletcher was elected to the Assembly as a Republican, but changed his affiliation to Independent in March 2012,[33] and then to Democratic in 2013.

Governor Jerry Brown endorsed Fletcher during the 2013 Special Mayoral Election.

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.[34] 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.[35] However, he placed third in the June 2012 primary election for with 24.00% of the vote.[24][26]

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.[36] 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.[37] Fletcher was widely embraced by Democratic leaders, many of whom had been courting him for years to join the party.[38]

Non-political activities[edit]


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 would include developing global strategies for wireless health initiatives, mobile education, and the protection of intellectual property, but will not involve lobbying or government relations.[39] His title was later changes to Global Strategic Initiatives, and in 2017, he announced he was leaving Qualcomm to dedicate more time to UCSD and community issues.

Fletcher also served as a television commentator for Fox 5 San Diego[40] and paid contributor to San Diego Magazine.[41]


In January 2013, Fletcher was appointed as the first Professor of Practice (officially an Adjunct Professor) at the University of California, San Diego.[42] 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 was 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."[43]

Political and community activities[edit]

Nathan Fletcher met with President Obama, representing the Truman National Security Project, to discuss and support the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal.

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.[44] He is a member of the Statewide Leadership Council of the Public Policy Institute of California,[45] and a member of the Aspen Institute Global Alliances Program Advisory Board.[46] He is also a member of the National Advisory Board of the Truman National Security Project.[47] He is a delegate of the California Democratic Party, member of San Diego Democratic Central Committee, was a 2016 delegate to the Democratic National Committee, 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,.[48] He is a Kauffman Fellow and Tribeca Innovative Disruptive Fellow.[49]

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.[50] 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.[51]


Fletcher is an Ironman Triathlete, marathon runner, alpine mountaineer, and mountain biker.[7] In 2003, he married Mindy Tucker, who had served as campaign manager and deputy chief of staff for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.[52] The couple has two adopted children. They separated on December 1, 2014, and filed for divorce in January 2015. 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."[53] In September 2015, Fletcher began dating Lorena Gonzalez, who currently serves in the California State Assembly representing California's 80th District.[54] They were married January 1, 2017.[55]

Fletcher has served on the Board of Directors for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Historical Society,[56] 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.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Faryon, Joanne. "The Truth About Nathan Fletcher: Mayoral Candidate Reveals Abusive Childhood (Video)". KPBS San Diego. Retrieved 14 Nov 2013. 
  3. ^ Fletcher, Nathan. "Nathan Fletcher". Retrieved 16 February 2018. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Kucher, Karen. "Fletcher hired as professor at UCSD". Union Tribune San Diego. Retrieved 18 Jan 2013. 
  6. ^ "Bio". UCSD San Diego. Archived from the original on 2013-08-04. 
  7. ^ a b "Nathan Fletcher: a short bio". San Diego Union Tribune. Aug 7, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  8. ^ a b c Craig Gustafson (Nov 26, 2011). "Mayoral candidate served in Iraq, Africa". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  9. ^ Dillon, Liam. "For Fletcher, Military and Political Identities Rooted in the Personal". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 7 July 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  10. ^ a b Salas, Dagny. "Nathan Fletcher Award Recommendation". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 7 July 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  11. ^ California Secretary of State: November 2008 election results Archived 2012-10-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ California Secretary of State: November 2010 election results Archived 2012-10-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Nathan Fletcher". California State Assembly. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  14. ^ "San Diego GOP lawmakers named to leadership posts", San Diego Union Tribune, December 13, 2010
  15. ^ Gardner, Michael (August 19, 2012). "Chelsea's Law could launch national movement". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  16. ^ "AB1844". California State Assembly.  External link in |website= (help)
  17. ^ Duke, Alan (10 September 2010). "Schwarzenegger signs California's 'Chelsea's Law'". CNN. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  18. ^ Fletcher, Nathan. "Speech in support of SJR 9". Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  19. ^ Gardner, Mike. "Fletcher Backs End to "Don't Ask Don't Tell" Policy". Newspaper. San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  20. ^ Yamamura, Kevin (9 September 2011). "Assembly passes Jerry Brown's business tax changes". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  21. ^ "Nathan Fletcher Voting Record". Retrieved 7 July 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  22. ^ "First-in-the-Nation Legislative Package Will Make Foreclosure Process Fairer, Hold Banks Accountable". Center for Responsible Lending. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  23. ^ Kuhney, Jen (18 June 2012). "Fletcher quietly worked to avert janitors strike". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  24. ^ a b "Assemblyman Fletcher Enters San Diego Mayoral Race". Scripps TV Station Group. June 6, 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  25. ^ Orr, Katie; Trageser, Claire; Schoolov, Katie (March 28, 2017). "Nathan Fletcher Announces He's Leaving The Republican Party". KPBS Public Media. Retrieved March 5, 2017. 
  26. ^ a b "County of San Diego Presidential Primary Election, June 5, 2012" (PDF). San Diego County Registrar of Voters. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  27. ^ Gustafson, Craig (August 23, 2013). "Fletcher declares intent to run for mayor". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  28. ^ Weisberg, Lori (October 29, 2013). "". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 3 November 2013.  External link in |title= (help)
  29. ^ "San Diego mayor race: Alvarez, Faulconer expected to meet in runoff". ABC 10 News. November 19, 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  30. ^ "Nathan Fletcher concedes San Diego mayoral race, endorses David Alvarez". ABC 10 News. November 20, 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  31. ^ Fletcher, Nathan. "What a South American Mountain Taught Me About Life, Loss and Politics". Essay. Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 18 Feb 2014. 
  32. ^ "San Diego County Board of Supervisors candidate Nathan Fletcher: The Union-Tribune interview". San Diego Union Tribune. April 6, 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2018. 
  33. ^ Craig Gustafson (March 28, 2012). "Fletcher quits GOP, turns independent". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  34. ^ Skelton, George (April 2, 2012). "California GOP loses an up-and-comer in Nathan Fletcher - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  35. ^ "Poll: Nathan Fletcher jumps to second in San Diego mayor race". Sacramento Bee. April 13, 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  36. ^ Morrison, Pat (28 April 2012). "Nathan Fletcher, San Diego's renegade ex-Republican". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  37. ^ Fletcher, Nathan. "Facebook Post on Joining Democratic Party". Social Media Essay. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  38. ^ "Former assemblyman, San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher joining Democratic Party". ABC 10 News. May 4, 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  39. ^ Steussy, Lauren (November 15, 2012). "Fletcher's New Job: Qualcomm". NBC 7 San Diego. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  40. ^
  41. ^ Fletcher, Nathan. "Our Modern-Day Crisis". San Diego Magazine. Retrieved 15 Feb 2013. 
  42. ^ "Faculty/Staff Directory: Fletcher, Nathan". UCSD. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  43. ^ Guardian, UCSD. "Nathan Fletcher Named First 'Professor of Practice' at UC San Diego". Retrieved 24 Jan 2013. 
  44. ^ Organizing for Action
  45. ^ Public Policy Institute of California
  46. ^ Aspen Institute Advisory Board
  47. ^ Truman Project board of advisors
  48. ^ World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Human Rights
  49. ^ Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards
  50. ^ Cavanaugh, Maureen (13 March 2013). "San Diego Leaders Tackle Immigration Reform". KPBS. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  51. ^ "San Diegans United for Commonsense Immigration Reform". KPBS San Diego. 
  52. ^ "Chamber turns on the charm". Sacramento Bee. February 12, 2006. p. D1. 
  53. ^ Krueger, Paul (March 2, 2015). "Former State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher Files for Divorce". NBC San Diego. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  54. ^ "2 Local Pols Confirm Romance Rumors". Retrieved 2015-09-28. 
  55. ^
  56. ^ "Society SitRep". San Diego, CA: Marine Corps Recruit Depot Historical Society. July 2010. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 

External links[edit]