Biography

Assemblymember Chris HoldenAssemblymember 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, 2016, 2018, and 2020 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.

While in office, Assemblymember Holden has championed efforts through his legislation and the budget process to improve education outcomes, provide social and racial justice, protect public health, and save developmental disability service providers. He supports legislation that grows our economy, protects our environment, strengthens our infrastructure and supports working families.

For education, Assemblymember Holden established the College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) program in 2015 (AB 288). The CCAP is dual enrollment program that provides high school students access to college-level coursework. The program increases the number of college graduates, reduces time and money spent for college, and helps close the achievement gap. Since 2015, Holden passed numerous bills to expand dual enrollment opportunities through these partnerships.

In 2020 and 2021, Assemblymember Holden passed landmark social and racial justice legislation. The first, AB 979, mandates diversity on corporate boards for corporations headquartered in California.  The second, AB 26, makes clear in our state law a peace officer’s duty to intervene when witnessing excessive force, prohibits retaliation on a peace officer for reporting the incident, and requires an officer who fails to intervene be disciplined up to, and including, in the same manner as the officer who used excessive force.

For public health, Assemblymember Holden passed legislation in 2019 that expands lead testing in drinking water within California’s childcare centers. He followed that bill up with another in 2021 that bans the manufacture and sale in California of water faucets and fixtures that leach excess lead.

On developmental disabilities, Assemblymember Holden successfully lead efforts to keep developmentally disability service providers open and funded at appropriate levels. He fought to increase reimbursement rates for developmental disability service providers in cities that had minimum wage laws that outpaced the State’s. In the 2021-2022 budget, he helped secure $89.9 million for developmental disability service providers that will grow to 1.2 billion in the next five years to retain vital services for individuals and families living with disabilities including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities.

Locally, Assemblymember Holden 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. He continues to fight for a vision to connect the San Gabriel Valley with light rail from Burbank Airport to Ontario Airport. For the past six years, as Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Regional Transportation 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.

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. He was the Assembly Majority Floor Leader from 2014 to 2016 and the Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus from 2016 to 2018.

Prior to his election to the Assembly, Holden served almost 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 the 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. After graduating college, he turned down the opportunity to play professional basketball international to pursue his journey in public service.

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.