Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

A version of this story by Ken Stone was published at Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association. Edited to add statement from Amy Reichart.

Photo:  Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, shown at earlier event, says he will check into an extended inpatient treatment center for post-traumatic stress, trauma and alcohol abuse. Screenshot via Nathan Fletcher YouTube

March 26, 2023 (San Diego) - San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher says he is quitting his campaign for state Senate to focus on his fight with PTSD tracing to his Marine combat days and childhood.

In a series of tweets Sunday night, Fletcher says he’s suffered many years from “devastating post traumatic stress” tied to combat “piled on top of intense childhood trauma that’s been exacerbated by alcohol abuse.”

“While I’ve shared some of these challenges publicly, they run much deeper than I’ve acknowledged,” Fletcher said.
The former Assembly member married to Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, another Assembly veteran, added: “I have to seek help. With the recommendation of my therapist and the insistence of my wife, this week I will be checking into an extended inpatient treatment center for post traumatic stress, trauma and alcohol abuse.”
Fletcher said he projected calm and composure outwardly but internally has been “waging a struggle that only those closest to me have seen — the detrimental impact on my relationships, mood and inability to sleep.”
He said he had no doubt he would make a full recovery and “come back stronger, more connected and present.”
“However, it is clear I need to focus on my health and my family and do not have the energy to simultaneously pursue a campaign for the state Senate.”
Fletcher had combat tours in Iraq, the Near East and the Horn of Africa.
Wikipedia noted he was decorated for valor under enemy fire and has been an advocate for military veterans ever since founding a veterans foundation to help those struggling with PTSD and successfully overturning unjust deportations of immigrant service members.
In a news release, Fletcher’s office says that while he’s on medical leave from the County of San Diego, “our office will continue to serve the constituents of the Fourth Supervisorial District.”
Locals posted notes of sympathy and support.
Fletcher announced his candidacy for the 39th District Senate seat on Feb. 6, vowing to fight for working families.
“From leading one of the most effective COVID responses in the nation to leading Marines in combat, I’ve never shied away from taking on the toughest fights,” Fletcher said at the time.
In November, he confirmed that he was considering a run for the seat because Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins is termed out.
Fletcher was the first Democrat to serve as chair of the Board of Supervisors in decades, taking the helm from Republican Greg Cox during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has since been succeeded by Supervisor Nora Vargas, also a Democrat.
He touted his success with the pandemic response — citing a vaccination rate over 90% — and instituting the region’s Mobile Crisis Response Teams, intended to better meet the needs of homeless San Diegans experiencing mental health crises.

Words of support have come from both Fletcher's backers and also his 2022 oppponent for Supervisor, Amy Reichart, who offered this statement sent to media:

"During the campaign, at every opportunity, I promoted the importance of recovery from alcohol and mental health issues while sharing my own journey after losing my daughter and father within five weeks of one another. Seeking help is a sign of strength and courage, not weakness."

She added, "I want to urge anyone who may be struggling with mental health and addiction issues to reach out and take that first brave step of recovery. As a community let’s uplift and support people who are struggling with mental health and addiction issues so they can find help, hope and healing. At this time, we need to pray for Nathan Fletcher, his family, and San Diego."



Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.