Cal Cities Speaker Series presents: Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D. California Secretary of State

May 4, 2022 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

With a vast and impressive career as an educator, a legislator, and now Secretary of State, as well as her life-long commitment to secure and expand civil rights, Dr. Shirley Weber is uniquely positioned to discuss issues and trends that matter most to California’s cities and city leaders.

Secretary Weber will share her insights on leadership and maintaining civility even when opinions differ. The conversation will be invaluable for city officials interested in advancing equity and justice in their communities or those dealing with the rise of incivility in public forums.

The discussion includes a welcome by League of California Cities President and Walnut Creek Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Silva and Q&A moderated by Cal Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman.

About the Speaker

Shirley Nash Weber, Ph.D., was nominated to serve as California Secretary of State by Governor Gavin Newsom on December 22, 2020, and sworn into office on January 29, 2021. She is California’s first Black Secretary of State and only the fifth African American to serve as a state constitutional officer in California’s 170-year history.

Weber was born to sharecroppers in Hope, Arkansas during the segregationist Jim Crow era. Her father, who left Arkansas after being threatened by a lynch mob, did not have the opportunity to vote until he was in his 30s. Her grandfather never voted as custom and law in the South, before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which systemically suppressed voting by Blacks. Although her family moved to California when Weber was three years old, it was her family’s experience in the Jim Crow South that has driven her activism and legislative work. She has fought to secure and expand civil rights for all Californians, including restoring voting rights for individuals who have completed their prison term.

Weber attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. by the age of 26. Prior to receiving her doctorate, she became a professor at San Diego State University (SDSU) at the age of 23. She also taught at California State University at Los Angeles and Los Angeles City College before coming to SDSU. She retired from the Department of Africana Studies after 40 years as a faculty member and serving several terms as department chair.

Before her appointment, Secretary Weber served four terms as an Assembly Member representing California's 79th Assembly District, which includes parts of the city of San Diego as well as several cities and communities in the San Diego region. Weber also served as a member and chair of the San Diego Unified School District and has twice served as a California Elector, including chairing the California College of Presidential Electors on December 14, 2020.

During her tenure in the Assembly, Weber chaired the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee, Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety, and Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health. Weber was the first African American to serve as the chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. She also served as a member of the Standing Committees on Education, Higher Education, Elections, Budget, Banking, and Finance.

In addition, Weber chaired the Select Committee on Campus Climate, which was created to examine and mitigate hate crimes on California’s college and university campuses. The committee also explored student hunger, sexual assaults, homelessness, and freedom of expression. She formerly created and chaired the Select Committee on Higher Education in San Diego County, which explored the need for an additional higher education facility in San Diego and ways to improve the quality, affordability, and equal access of higher education in the region.  

From 2019-20, she served as chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, which consists of the state’s African American legislators and has the goal of promoting equal opportunity for California’s African American community. Weber broke records during her tenure by garnering extraordinary support for the Caucus’s efforts and its projects. 

Weber’s genuine passion and tireless quest for equality and fairness in all sectors of life have resulted in her pursuit of reforms in education and criminal justice. Her equity-oriented legislation includes: school finance and accountability, classroom safety, ethnic studies, early learners, attendance and dropout rates, quality instruction, law enforcements’ use-of-force, and body camera practices, reparations, the CalGangs’ database, Affirmative Action, inclusive jury selection and instruction, predatory lending, resources for exonerees, restorative justice, racial profiling, among others. Weber has also pursued public policy changes related to health, senior citizens, veterans, and military families.

Secretary Weber is a mother of two adult children, three grandchildren, and was married for 29 years to the late Honorable Daniel Weber. She is number six in a family of eight children. Her parents, David and Mildred Nash, are deceased. Her hobbies are reading and traveling.

About the Cal Cities Speaker Series

The Cal Cities Speaker Series features government leaders and policy experts sharing insights on big picture issues and trends that matter most to cities. Our speakers, like our cities, have diverse perspectives and Cal Cities is excited to provide meaningful dialogue that engages, enlightens, and inspires. The Cal Cities Speaker Series is free to members and League Partners.

Registration must be completed by May 3 at 12:00 p.m. This webinar is complimentary to Cal Cities members and League Partners. Nonmember cities and other government entities will be charged $150. Please note that registration is limited to 1,000 people.

For questions about webinar registration, please contact Megan Dunn. For all other questions, please contact Christina George.