Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
November 3, 2020 — California General Election
Invest in unbiased information

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.

California State AssemblyCandidate for District 78

Photo of Chris Ward

Chris Ward

City Councilmember/Parent
123,755 votes (56.2%)Winning
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
For more in-depth information on this candidate, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.
Candidate has provided information.
Thank candidate for sharing their information on Voter's Edge.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • Homelessness - We must ensure that homeless neighbors are lifted up and provided with proven supportive housing with wrap-around services to get them back on their feet.
  • Climate Change - We are already feeling the effects of climate change. California needs a plan to protect ourselves from these threats and to continue our leadership in greenhouse reduction.
  • Childcare - California’s children deserve a strong start, and families need support to create work/life balance that leads to a happy and healthy workplace, and an even happier and healthier home.



Profession:San Diego City Councilmember
City Councilmember, City of San Diego (2016–current)
City Councilmember, San Diego City Council — Elected position (2016–current)
Chief of Staff / Senator Marty Block, California State Assembly, California State Senate (2008–2016)
Urban and Environmental Planner, EDAW (now AECOM) (2006–2008)
Laboratory Manager, Research Associate, UCSD/Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (1998–2004)
Laboratory Manager, Research Associate, UCSD/Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (1998–2004)


Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government Master of Arts (M.A.), Public Policy and Urban Planning (2006)
Johns Hopkins University Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) (1998)

Community Activities

Chair, Regional Task Force on the Homeless (2018–current)
Alternate Member, California Coastal Commission (2018–current)
Public Safety Committee Member, San Diego Association of Governments (2018–current)
Board Member, Uptown Planners (2012–2016)


Chris Ward is a parent of two young children who motivate him every day to make the world a better place for our kids to grow up.

He was elected to the San Diego City Council in 2016, and has focused on housing, homelessness, economic development, public safety and other critical local goals. He is the author of San Diego’s landmark Equal Pay Ordinance, and wrote a law to make San Diego the largest city in California to ban Styrofoam. He has served as Chair of the San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless, transforming our outdated programs and services to align with national best practices and meaningfully address and respond to homelessness at a time when other cities are experiencing double-digit growth. On the City Council, he serves as Chair of the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, focusing on support for local business and help create good paying jobs.

He previously served as the Chief of Staff to State Senator Marty Block, representing most of the 78th Assembly District. In these capacities, Chris was committed to constituent services, facilitating public participation in policymaking, and organizing state and local resources to make our schools, universities, and neighborhoods a better place. Prior to that, Chris was an environmental planner at the firm EDAW, working with local government to update land use policies and law, and conduct CEQA environmental reviews.

Chris has been active in the community through volunteer services for years prior to taking office, serving on his community planning group and the San Diego Community College District’s Citizens Oversight Committee. Chris was a Board member of the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation and San Diego LGBT Center, and is a member of the Truman National Security Project. Chris earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Johns Hopkins University and a Masters in Public Policy and Urban Planning at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He and his partner Thom are homeowners in University Heights with their two children, Betty and Billy, and their cairn terrier, Monty.

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (43)

Elected Officials (46)

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

To reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, as set forth in a 2018 executive order what, if any, proposals, plans or legislation would you support?  Please be specific.
Answer from Chris Ward:

The climate crisis is just that—a crisis. If we continue sit around and wait for someone else to act, then the change we need will never come. I plan to stand up in Sacramento and fight to protect the enviornment, as well as for all of those who have already been adversely affected by worsening conditions. If elected, I will push the following solutions:

  • Develop a statewide Climate Action Plan with enforceable measures to ensure targets are met, and that local CAPs are supported and congruous with statewide efforts
  • Support reductions of greenhouse gas emissions through transportation investments and local planning efforts that lower distances travelled, provide for more efficient fuel use, reduce congestion and prioritize mass transit, and support zero emission vehicle utilization
  • Support green energy source development with good labor standards that implement tenets of a Green New Deal for California. Incentivize manufacturing and export of technology and product to help other countries transition to green energy faster and keep our job base strong
  • Oppose new drilling; immediately begin phase out of existing drilling consistent with escalation of new like-for-like green energy production and labor training
  • Invest in forest and open space management practices to stem the increased frequency and intensity of wildfires that threaten Californians each year
  • Shift our buildings to more efficient, all-electric contributors to a sustainable environment in harmony with transforming our energy to cleaner sources, away from natural gas.
  • Invest in conservation and recycling, and secure our water rights for San Diego
  • Divest all state public investments from industries which extract fossil fuels and require local divestment policy as a condition of state grant funding
  • Limit the creation of single use plastics and ensure the life cycle of existing products does not include landfills or our natural environment to protect our oceans, rivers, and marine life and promote human health
Describe what proposal(s) you would support to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing for all income groups in California?
Answer from Chris Ward:

Coming from San Diego, I understand the gravity of California's housing situation. That's why homelessness relief and housing affordability are most assuredly among my top issues:

  • On the San Diego City Council, I have improved approaches to housing legislation and solving homelessnessI have been at the table fighting for better inclusionary requirements, introduced and passed a resolution to promote development of permanent supportive housing across the cityand worked with the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and the City to develop public lands into pubic housing. I have also been making decisions to invest in the preservation and rehabilitation of our affordable housing stock. 
  • On the issue of rent control/stabilization, I am currently working with local tenant advocacy experts to develop a reform package that the San Diego City Council can review within the next year, consistent and beyond the scope of AB 1482
  • As Chair of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, I have worked tirelessly to update systems of care, identify funding streams, and increase housing supply for our most vulnerable San Diegans. This is particularly important for communities of color and the LGBT community as we know that they are disproportionally impacted by homelessness. Taking best practices to Sacramento, I will fight for a permanent stream of homelessness funding, comprehensive statewide planning, and updated care and services so the most vulnerable Californians have a path out of poverty.
According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, we spend over $81,000 per individual who is incarcerated.  Other than incarceration, what ways can the State address safety and justice?
Answer from Chris Ward:

There are a multitude of ways that the California Assembly can approach the question of how to best bring about justice. In regards to policiing, it's clear to me that when we as policymakers wrestle with police-community relations, we have to equally consider the weight of responsibility that we grant law enforcement, and the weight of very real fear in too many communities that a simple misunderstanding can lead to death. Restoring a feeling of mutual trust to these relationships is of critical importance.

In order to arrive at a place where police and communities trust one another, bold action must be taken: I support ending cash bail, and even sponsored a successful Council resolution in 2018 backing state and federal legislation to achieve that end. I've also spent time on City Council working with impacted communities to develop a cannabis equity program in San Diego to ensure that the benefits of recently legalized cannabis go to addressing the impacts of over-policing in previous decades. These issues, among many others, need to be brought up to the state level as well, and I would be honored to do exactly that. 

What programs or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of all Californians?
Answer from Chris Ward:

Access to clean drinking water is one of the most pressing environmental and quality of life issues in all of Southern California. As our population grows and droughts increase in length and severity, entire towns find themselves without water. This pattern is only going to become more severe as climate change worsens. We need long-term water planning for the state of California that includes conservation, recycling, and rainwater capture and storage. The Capitol needs leadership that is willing to make long-term, difficult decisions about water resources and reliable funding for necessary water infrastructure. 

In addition, I recognize that the impacts of climate change affect disadvantaged communities the hardest and often immediately, in part because they often are not given the investments to offer mitigation and public amenities in response. Policies promoting equity in storm water infrastructure as well as access to clean water must be implemented in these communities. 

Finally, I do not believe the Delta tunnel project is the solution for California's water supply problem, as it does not create the necessary balance between habitat protection and water supply. In its place, mlegislative efforts would be directed more toward supporting water infrastructure funds to water recycling, local projects, capture and local storage, and other projects

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $1,167,187

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

California Faculty Association
California Federation of Teachers
California State Council of Laborers
California Teachers Association
SEIU California
State Building & Construction Trades Council of California

More information about contributions

By State:

California 89.29%
District of Columbia 1.42%
Texas 1.20%
Florida 0.95%
Other 7.14%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.57%)
Small contributions (0.43%)

By Type:

From organizations (83.56%)
From individuals (16.44%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I’m running for the State Assembly to take the work we’ve done on these issues and others and apply them statewide. And frankly, state government has a lot more say whether the problems I’ve worked on get fixed.

I’ll make sure we support working families, reinvigorate opportunity to achieve the California Dream, and provide a sustainable and healthy natural environment. That means we must provide enough housing at every income level, deliver on the need for quality education for all, and support policies that achieve career security and upward mobility.


It also means incentivizing job creation that will be at the core of our changing economy, putting the training for those jobs in reach, making sure workers have a voice and a real chance to retire, and quality, affordable healthcare to help them get there and enjoy it. As I raise my kids, I am driven to make sure progress is secure and we pay it forward. 

If you elect me to the Assembly, I’ll bring the same prepared, never-take-no-for-an-answer, determined style from City Hall and apply it the issues most affecting our community, working families, and our overall quality of life at the State Capitol.

I look forward to connecting with you during this campaign and hope to earn your trust and your vote in the 2020 election.

Position Papers

Candidate Statement


Statement of Qualifications - General Election Ballot


Chris Ward has the experience to deliver real solutions for critical problems like COVID response, homelessness, climate change, healthcare, and economic recovery. That's why he's endorsed by the California Democratic Party, California’s Nurses, Firefighters, and Teachers Associations, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Senator Toni Atkins, Congresswoman Susan Davis, and League of Conservation Voters.




Leadership to help. During the COVID crisis, Chris created and funded the city’s first Rental Assistance Program, extended an eviction moratorium, opened the convention center and hotels to house homeless San Diegans, and prioritized Small Business relief. In the Assembly, he'll secure resources to reduce infectious disease spread.




Homelessness impacts everyone. On the City Council, Chris increased shelter beds, housing, and mental health services. At the Capitol, Chris will fight for a permanent funding stream, statewide action plan, and resources our community needs.
Climate change persists. Chris authored San Diego’s Styrofoam ban to reduce harmful plastics. He’s combatting climate change through clean energy and smart growth principles.  He will ensure a reliable water supply, clean up the Tijuana River, and protect our canyons, beaches and bays.

An economy for all. Chris authored San Diego’s Equal Pay Ordinance. He’ll fight for a living wage, invest in workforce training, and help small businesses thrive.  




In this election, only Chris Ward has direct experience helping thousands of San Diegans receive unemployment assistance, prevent home foreclosure, or keep healthcare insurance during an economic recession.


For more information, call Chris at (619) 786-0008 or visit




Vote Chris Ward for State Assembly.




Videos (1)

Leadership for Assembly — September 25, 2020 Candidate Campaign

Who else is running?

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.