Baxter Ward

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Baxter Ward
Baxter Ward 9 News.jpg
Member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
from District 5
In office
Preceded by Warren Dorn
Succeeded by Michael D. Antonovich
Personal details
Born November 5, 1919
Died February 4, 2002
Los Angeles
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Karen
Children Torrey

Baxter Ward, born Baxter Ward Schwellenbach (November 5, 1919 – February 4, 2002) was a television news anchor who served two terms on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Prior to his election on the board, he ran third in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Sam Yorty for Mayor of Los Angeles in 1969.

The nephew of Lewis Baxter Schwellenbach, Ward was born in Superior, Wisconsin, and grew up in Ephrata, Washington.

Ward served as a Los Angeles County Supervisor from 1972–1980. As supervisor, Ward was an early advocate for passenger rail transportation in the county, something Los Angeles had lacked since the abandonment of the Pacific Electric Railway in the 1950's.

Under Ward's aegis, L.A. County purchased eight rail cars from the El Camino in an attempt to bootstrap commuter rail in the greater Los Angeles area. Baxter Ward's initial effort failed, dubbed "Baxter's Choo-Choo" by its numerous contemporary critics,[1] and although the purchased cars were used on Amtrak's San Diegan for six months in 1978, the criticism stuck, ultimately contributing to his 1980 election loss to Michael D. Antonovich.[2] It is worth noting, however, that the original commuter rail route envisioned by Ward eventually did eventually come to fruition in the form of Metrolink's Orange County Line, albeit some years after the end of his career as a Los Angeles County Supervisor.[3]

During the 1950s and early 60s he introduced a non-fiction documentary television show called Adventure Tomorrow with Dr. Martin L. Klein, which presented technology of the exciting years of the early Space Age. The program's producer, George Van Valkenburg described the series as covering anything that moves, flies or explodes. Ward also worked as a television news anchor first at KCOP-Channel 13, and then with KABC-Channel 7 in Los Angeles before he ran for Mayor.

Ward died in 2002, following a long battle with lung cancer. He was 82 years old.[4][5]


  1. ^ Jones, Jack; Rich, Connell. "'Baxter's Choo-Choo' to Chug Chug in Mexico : Supervisors Giving County's Idle Train a One-Way Ticket". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 August 2017. 
  2. ^ Hobbs, Charles P. (2014). Hidden History of Transportation in Los Angeles. The History Press. ISBN 1-6261-9671-0. 
  3. ^ Elkind, Ethan N. (2014). Railtown: The fight for the Los Angeles Metro Rail and the future of the city. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-95720-6. 
  4. ^ Oliver, Myrna. "Baxter Ward, 82; Political Maverick". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 August 2017. 
  5. ^ Stacey, Klein. "Newsman, ex-supervisor succumbs to battle against lung cancer.". The Signal. Retrieved 8 August 2017. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Warren Dorn
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
5th district

Succeeded by
Michael D. Antonovich