With the announcement in mid-July that Bill Dodd would run for the State Senate, less than a year after he won his seat in the Assembly, the door was opened for candidates to fill his seat. The first announced candidate was Don Saylor. Mr. Saylor has served in public office since 1995 when he was first elected to the Davis School Board. He served two terms on the school board and was elected to the Davis City Council in June 2004.
Don Saylor would serve from 2004 to 2011 on the city council, including six months as mayor – ending in January 2011 when he took office on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. He was elected in 2010 and reelected in 2014.
Mr. Saylor is opposed so far by Davis Mayor Dan Wolk (for his response see here). The Vanguard asked Don Saylor five questions about his candidacy and here are his responses.
Why have you decided to run for the State Assembly?
I am compelled to seek election to the Assembly to help all Californians thrive. I bring deep understanding and experience in public policy and leadership. My commitment to public service spans over 40 years, including service as a local elected official for the past 20 years. I served eight years on the Davis School Board – building three new schools, improving and modernizing our schools and providing educational opportunities for all children. I was twice elected to the Davis City Council where I improved municipal services, protected our environment, fought for affordable housing, and launched critical infrastructure projects. Since 2011, I have served on the County Board of Supervisors working on transportation and land use, expanding access to health care, improving mental health services, supporting agriculture, and fighting for smarter ways to tackle crime. My professional public service includes a wide array of state and local roles. I worked for the non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office from 1979-84 providing the California Legislature with advice on fiscal and policy issues related to health and social service programs. I have had professional leadership roles in education, health care delivery, delinquency prevention, land use planning, budgeting and strategic planning. Fiscal stability, transparency, community engagement, and accountability have been a hallmark of my service in state government and in every elected role I have held. I do not need to stretch my resume. My values and my record are clear.
Are you concerned that, with two Davis area candidates for Assembly, you will split the vote much like it was in 2014?
I am glad we live in a country where anybody is free to step forward to be considered by their peers for service. I admire any person who steps forward to be considered for elective office. I am not a fortuneteller and I do not speculate on hypotheticals, especially considering that this election is still over 10 months away. I am confident that my public service record and experience will appeal to voters across the district. I look forward to a positive campaign that highlights the issues that matter to voters.
What have you learned after years in public office serving on the school board, city council, and as county supervisor?
I work for you. All things are connected. Our communities are organic and fluid. Everybody has a story and all should have a voice to express their opinion. If you listen you will learn. If we focus on what we can agree on, we can find a way forward. Our region is rising and has a critical role to play on the global stage. Our greatest strength is each other. Together we can find the path to YES.
What issue areas are you planning to focus on? Also address your thoughts on improving K-12. Making college affordable? Environmental issues facing district/California? Reforming the criminal justice system? And improving the economy in the region?
I plan on doing the same thing I do everyday – bringing coalitions together to address real problems. Working for this region and this district – working for you. Standing up for what I believe in and fighting against things that I think will hurt this region – like the proposed plan to build two giant tunnels to take more of our water down south, despite the expense and the environmental harm – and the continued unsafe transport of volatile crude oil through the communities and fragile habitats of our region.
Like many of us I am concerned about the loss of the middle class – too often we hear about the challenges that working families are facing. Juggling multiple jobs, college admissions that are out of reach or rising tuition costs that has priced local students out of California schools. I continue to fight for the values that brought me to California and gave my wife and me the opportunity to raise a family and then give back to this area. Let me be clear. I also fight for the people who need a path to get to the middle class. In addition I hope to use my experience to find balanced approaches to public policy questions and focus on our future instead of bouncing from crisis to crisis.
What do you consider your biggest accomplishments as county supervisor? As city councilmember?
There are numerous initiatives and projects that I have had the privilege and pleasure to work on – too many to mention here. Most of these projects required the help, assistance and teamwork of others – staff, community members, and elected officials from across this region. I am proud of the work that we have done together to make this community, county and region a better place. Personally, I am most proud of my work on the “Soups On” events that we have done since 2003. These events have helped raise money for many groups that are in need, including local foster care, food banks, suicide prevention programs, outdoor youth education programs, and groups that are helping those dealing with mental illness. Too often these programs are left behind in budget battles and I will continue my work to champion these worthy causes.
—David M. Greenwald reporting