Councilmember Chris Ward was elected to represent San Diego’s Third City Council District in June 2016, and took office in December of 2016. He serves as Chair of the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee and Vice Chair of the Committee on Active Transportation and Infrastructure, Vice Chair of the Committee on Land Use and Housing, and as a member of the Rules Committees, as well as serving as the Chair of the San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless and an alternate member to the California Coastal Commission.
As a Councilmember, Chris has been a fierce advocate in identifying tangible outcomes that will significantly reduce San Diego’s overall homeless population. In early 2017, the City Council created the Select Committee on Homelessness, chaired by Councilmember Ward. This committee was dedicated to reviewing and improving city approaches for reducing homelessness. As chair, Councilmember Ward updated the council’s Policy on Homelessness for the first time since 1995, with a commitment to proven Housing First strategies. He worked with state legislators to streamline housing development opportunities and pushed the City to officially declare a Shelter Crisis, unlocking millions of dollars in new state funding for housing and services.
In February of 2017, he introduced the City’s first Equal Pay Ordinance. With the unanimous support of his colleagues on the City Council, the ordinance’s passage makes San Diego the largest City in the nation committed to ensuring equal pay when spending your hard-earned tax dollars. As Chair of the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, he has focused on developing mechanisms to support local business and help create good paying jobs.
In 2018, Councilmember Ward introduced an ordinance that would ban styrofoam and place restrictions on single-use plastics in San Diego. In one of the first bold actions of 2019, the Council supermajority voted to officially approve Councilmember Ward’s ordinance, making San Diego the largest City in California to ban these harmful materials.
He previously served as the Chief of Staff to State Senator Marty Block, also representing the communities of the Third City Council District and most of the City of San Diego. In this capacity, Chris has been strongly committed to excellence in constituent services, facilitating public participation in policymaking, and organizing state and local resources to make our neighborhoods a better place every day.
Previously, Chris was an environmental planner at the firm EDAW, working with local government to develop land use plans and conduct environmental review. Before dedicating a career to public service, Chris worked as a researcher at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at UCSD on the front lines of San Diego’s burgeoning biotech sector.
Councilmember Ward has been active in the community through volunteer services for many years prior to taking office, serving on his community planning group and the San Diego Community College District’s Citizens Oversight Committee. Chris has been a member of the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation board of directors facilitating endowments and providing philanthropy for LGBT Youth, HIV/AIDS, senior and other nonprofit organizations as well as a member of the San Diego LGBT Center Board of Directors. He served on the San Diego GLBT Historic Task Force, volunteered with a number of other organizations, and was accepted in the Truman National Security Project Class of 2015 Partners.
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 daughter, Betty; son, Billy; and cairn terrier, Monty.