On Monday, Don Saylor, a two-term Yolo County Supervisor and one-time Mayor of Davis, announced that he was launching his bid for the State Assembly. In a press release sent out earlier this week, Mr. Saylor states, “Assemblymember Bill Dodd’s decision to seek election to the California State Senate creates an open seat to represent Assembly District 4 that few had anticipated.”
On Monday, Mr. Saylor told friends in an e-mail message, “I am seeking election to the Assembly to help all Californians thrive and work to make our state government make sense. California is an amazing place. Together the communities in Assembly District 4 are a major contributor to the global economy. I will work to build on our economic assets, steward our natural resources, invest in our future through infrastructure and education, support agriculture and food security, and strengthen our commitment to our most vulnerable populations.”
For the second consecutive time, two Davis politicians appear ready to do battle, as both Supervisor Don Saylor and Davis Mayor Dan Wolk announced on Monday they would seek the now-vacated Assembly seat that spans six counties.
In 2014, Dan Wolk finished third in the June primary with then-Mayor Joe Krovoza finishing fourth. Bill Dodd finished first and would ultimately win the seat. It is his decision to run for the State Senate seat, held by Lois Wolk since 2008, that opened the door for a contested Assembly race for the second time in two years
In some ways, this race will be a contrast in styles.
Mr. Saylor cites his record of public service spanning 40 years, including as a local elected official for the past 20 years. He joined the Board of Supervisors in January 2011. Earlier Mr. Saylor served as mayor and city councilmember for the City of Davis from 2004 to 2010 and as a trustee of the Davis Joint Unified School District from 1995 to 2003.
Supervisor Saylor currently chairs the six-county Sacramento Area Council of Governments and has previously chaired the Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District, First 5 Yolo Commission, and the Yolo County Natural Heritage Program.
Mr. Saylor’s public service career includes the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, where he provided analyses and advice to the California State Legislature on health and social services programs, as well as performed a variety of administrative roles in education, health care, strategic planning, construction and financial management.
His press release notes, “Don has worked to build new schools, balance budgets, create partnerships, protect open space and bring new jobs to the area.”
Mr. Saylor says, “From improving local schools to tackling juvenile delinquency in California, I have been on the front lines. As a county supervisor, I have worked with leaders across the region on transportation planning, climate action, affordable housing, health care and mental health services, access to healthy food, transportation and improving our water supply. As a city council member, I helped launch economic development and innovation strategies.”
Don Saylor has served as a member of the statewide Cities, Counties, Schools Partnership Executive Committee, where he “has worked on school community partnerships, food security, safe routes to school and other cross cutting issues.”
Mr. Saylor has been a founder and active participant in Yolo Food Connect, a group focused on food security and planning for an inclusive food system, and Saving California Communities, a group focused on improving the alignment of public resources, responsibilities and accountability in government. “I believe our best hope is to engage people in solving our own problems. Too often public dialogue has become polarized. I want to help bring balance and fairness to the public square,” said Mr. Saylor
“I am proud of the work we have done together for our community, county and region. At each step along the way, I have gained valuable perspectives, worked hard to make a difference in the lives of people, and built long lasting partnerships. I look forward to continuing this work statewide,” said Mr. Saylor.
Two-term Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor represents the cities of Davis and Winters, the campus of the University of California at Davis and southwestern Yolo County. He is a lifelong Democrat, and his wife, Julie, moved to Davis in 1987 to raise their children, Aaron and Kate.
The 4th Assembly District includes Lake and Napa counties, most of Yolo County, and part of Colusa, Solano, and Sonoma counties.
As noted earlier this week, this race will be a contrast in styles, but also Dan Wolk and Don Saylor are in some ways inextricably linked.
In 2008, when Don Saylor was reelected to the city council, he finished first. However, before he could serve as mayor, he announced a run for the county supervisor position vacated by former Assemblymember Helen Thomson. He won that uncontested election in June, then took over as mayor from July until he resigned in January to join the Board of Supervisors. He then won reelection as, again, no one challenged him.
In the meantime, it was Dan Wolk, son of the current Senator – who had also served as Mayor of Davis, a member of the County Board of Supervisors, and Assemblymember – who would win appointment to the city council through the vacancy left by Don Saylor’s departure. He beat out an eight-person field to win unanimous approval in February of 2011.
In June 2012, he ran for the council seat in his own right, finishing first in all of the precincts. Before he could be seated as mayor in July 2014, he ran and finished third for the State Assembly seat that Bill Dodd would ultimately win.
Lois Wolk announced her endorsement of Bill Dodd (and, naturally, of her son Dan Wolk). Bill Dodd is backing Dan Wolk. Mariko Yamada, who Bill Dodd replaced in the Assembly, will face off with Bill Dodd for Senate.
—David M. Greenwald reporting