Biography

Assemblymember Chris Holden brings to the legislature a lifetime of experience in public service and business garnered during his many years on the Pasadena City Council and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. He was first elected to the California State Assembly in 2012, and was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2014 and 2016 from a district that stretches from Pasadena in the West to Upland in the East and includes the communities of Altadena, Claremont, La Verne, Monrovia, Rancho Cucamonga, San Dimas, Sierra Madre, and South Pasadena.

Last year, several of Assemblymember Holden’s bills were signed by Governor Jerry Brown, including a bill that increases affordable housing options for foster youth, disabled veterans, or formerly homeless individuals. Another bill that provides additional financial support for relative caregivers of foster youth was adopted into our state budget and implemented immediately. In the community he partnered with The Education Trust-West to host an informational briefing, "Black Minds Matter," to discuss educational disparities facing California's nearly one million black youth. The briefing brought elected leaders, educators, stakeholders and community leaders together in order to better implement policies that close the opportunity and achievement gap for California’s Black Youth.

In 2015, 11 of Holden’s proposed measures were signed into law. On education, he passed a bill to remove limits on concurrent enrollment to increase access to higher education for high school students. To help small business owners, he passed a bill to protect the investment and well-being of franchisees from unfair tactics used by franchisors in termination agreements. He also passed a bill to expand the statute of limitations for filing human rights claims from two to ten years for cases of torture, war crimes, genocide and human trafficking. During this year he also served as Assembly Majority Floor Leader.

In his first term in the Assembly, Holden had an impressive record of success with 13 of his proposed measures signed into law. These included providing more funds for domestic violence shelters, ensuring tax breaks for military personnel, helping small businesses and creating economic opportunity for pioneering start-up companies. Other bills give our communities more control over regulating massage businesses, provide law enforcement with the tools to fight human trafficking and increase efforts to protect open spaces and parklands for generations to come. During this time he also served as Assistant Minority Whip and Minority Whip.

He established himself as a leader in strengthening the economic vitality of the San Gabriel Valley by organizing a transportation roundtable with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the mayors of 11 other cities to discuss the transportation priorities for the area, including the future of the Metro Gold Line extension. For the past two years, as Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Regional Transportation and Interconnectivity Solutions, Holden held hearings to discuss timely transportation issues for the region and the state. The hearings, attended by hundreds, included local and state government officials and transportation experts that discussed issues regarding funding solutions, active transportation and managing regional growth.

Assemblymember Holden has a keen interest in building stronger trade relations with foreign countries. At the invitation of California Governor Jerry Brown and the Mexican government, Holden joined a conference on international trade in Mexico City which highlighted the growing economic bonds between Mexico and California.

Holden currently chairs the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy. Additional committee assignments include Business & Professions, Communications and Conveyance, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, and Judiciary. He is Chair of the Select Committee on Regional Transportation and Interconnectivity Solutions and sits on the Advisory Committee of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. He also serves on the Select Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education and is an Alliance member of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys & Men of Color.  In 2016, he was elected Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus.

Prior to his election to the Assembly, Holden served 24 years as a Pasadena City Councilmember and Mayor. He was the youngest City Councilmember at age 28 and only the second African American to serve as Mayor. Throughout his years of public service, Holden has been a champion in creating jobs, preserving vital services, strengthening the economic vitality of the San Gabriel Valley and expanding light rail. While on the city council, Holden served as a Commissioner and President of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority and on the Pasadena Light Rail Alignment Task Force.

Holden owns CHMB Consulting, a real estate firm and is a former owner of a Subway franchise. He is a lifelong resident of the district and graduate of San Diego State University. He lives in Pasadena with his wife, Melanie, and children Nicholas, Alexander, Austin, Mariah and Noah. Holden is the son of former State Senator and LA City Councilman Nate Holden.