Assemblymember Chris Ward was first elected in 2020, and reelected in 2022 to serve the 78th Assembly District in central San Diego and is currently Speaker pro Tempore of the California State Assembly. He is appointed as the Assembly designee on the California State Coastal Conservancy and Vice Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus. He also serves as Chair of the Select Committee on Biotechnology.
Assemblymember Ward focuses his legislative efforts on housing, homelessness, climate, state budget and water supply issues, while balancing other key priorities concerning constituents. In his first term in the Legislature, Assemblymember Ward secured efforts to establish the state's first community solar program, make rental application fees cheaper, prohibit discrimination in mixed-income housing developments, reduce access to ghost guns, and increase the substance use disorder counselor workforce. He was selected as the "2021 Legislator of the Year" by the California Native Plant Society for his work to protect coastal endangered species from poaching and received the "2022 Community Solar Champion" award from the Coalition for Community Solar Access.
Prior to his election to the Assembly, Assemblymember Ward served on the San Diego City Council and authored San Diego's landmark Equal Pay Ordinance. He chaired the San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless, transforming outdated strategies to align with national best practices; chaired the Land Use and Housing Committee, updating restrictive housing codes and incentivizing affordable development; and chaired the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee supporting local business.
Before being elected to office, Assemblymember Ward was the Chief of Staff to Senator Marty Block, coordinating constituent services, engaging public participation in the legislative process, and addressing the needs of schools and neighborhoods. He was also an environmental planner at the firm EDAW, working with local government to update land use policies and conduct CEQA environmental reviews.
As a longtime volunteer for his community, Assemblymember Ward served on the San Diego Community College District's Citizens Oversight Committee, a board member of the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation and San Diego LGBT Center, as well as a member of the Truman National Security Project.
Assemblymember Ward earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Johns Hopkins University and a Master's in Public Policy and Urban Planning at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He and his partner, Thom, reside in University Heights with their two young children and their old cairn terrier.