After getting the nod from Gov. Gavin Newsom on Nov. 20 to serve as the appointed San Luis Obispo County supervisor for the 3rd District, replacing late Supervisor Adam Hill, Dawn Ortiz-Legg told New Times
that she’s ready to get to work to represent South County residents.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SLO COUNTY
NEW SUPERVISOR San Luis Obispo County Planning Commissioner Dawn Ortiz-Legg will replace Adam Hill as the appointed 3rd District supervisor.
“It’s bittersweet,” Ortiz-Legg said by phone on Nov. 24. “Adam was an enormous influence on District 3. When I went out to talk to folks about possibly being appointed, it was overwhelming how many people acknowledged Adam’s role. There’s a great legacy of Adam, but I want to take it from a fresh perspective.”
Ortiz-Legg, 61, is no stranger to local politics. In 2016, she ran as the Democratic candidate for State Assembly. Since 2018, she’s served as the SLO County planning commissioner for the 3rd District. She has a background in energy, working on the Topaz Solar Farm project in 2010 and currently works for PG&E. She serves as a board member for the local nonprofits One Cool Earth and SLO International Film Festival.
Ortiz-Legg received the appointment over several contenders, including Hill’s 2020 election challenger Stacy Korsgaden, Grover Beach City Councilmember Mariam Shah, and SLO City Councilmember Erica Stewart, among others.
Ultimately, Ortiz-Legg said she thinks it was her experience in both the public and private sectors, especially around climate policy and renewable energy, that earned her the appointment. She said she’s also known Gov. Newsom for years. He called her personally on Nov. 20 to share the news.
“He said ‘I think you’re ready and let’s do it,’” she said of the phone call.
Ortiz-Legg added that Newsom asked her questions about the culture and political landscape of SLO County.
“We talked about the lay of the land in the county in that it is uniquely moderately purple with this balance between the progressive and conservative values,” she said. “I’ve always called the Central Coast the Midwest of California. I feel there are real old-fashioned values held by all.”
When she thinks about joining SLO County’s often-divided Board of Supervisors, which is historically split along those political lines, Ortiz-Legg said she plans to bring a common-sense approach and a willingness to work with others.
“Sometimes I feel like when I’m listening to the political dialogue, I feel like people are talking in two different languages,” she said. “We actually believe very loosely the same things.”
The new supervisor added that she “loves to collaborate” and welcomes public input.
“There’s not an issue that doesn’t interest me,” she said.
Ortiz-Legg’s term is a two-year appointment, with the seat going up for election in the 2022 primary. She said she hopes to formally join the board for its Dec. 8 meeting. ∆