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. Quickly emerging was Dan Wolk, the Mayor of Davis who finished third in the 2014 primary, and two-time Yolo County Supervisor and one-time Mayor of Davis, Don Saylor.
The Vanguard asked Dan Wolk five questions about his candidacy and here are his responses.
- Why did you decide to run once again for Assembly?
As mayor and a county attorney, I see the important challenges facing our community and region first hand: crumbling infrastructure, income disparity, unaffordable childcare and preschool, water shortages, climate change, inadequate services for seniors, students overburdened by skyrocketing tuition and debt and the lack of good jobs for our young people. I am running for Assembly because I have the skills, experience and energy to make a real difference.
- Are you concerned that with two Davis area candidates for Assembly, you will once again split the vote?
I am excited to have the unexpected opportunity to run again for Assembly in 2016. I have secured key endorsements in Yolo County and across the district to strengthen my position in the race. In 2014, Don Saylor gave me a glowing endorsement. I hope he will do so again in 2016.
- What have you learned after four years on the city council?
In addition to seeing and addressing the challenges that face our region firsthand, I have a deeper understanding of how best to work collaboratively and practically to get things done. I have built a solid record of getting the various stakeholders on a given issue to sit down and work together to find a solution. Political grandstanding and gamesmanship are pointless.
- 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 will focus on policies that give everyone in our region and state the opportunity to succeed. As I mentioned above, we have a number of imposing challenges facing our region and state – and we can make a real difference for people by addressing our problems comprehensively and collaboratively.
It all starts with education. I am the product of public schools and I firmly believe we must end the neglect of our K-12 system and dramatically reinvest in our schools. That includes fully funding our schools for the long term, providing universal preschool, so all children are ready to succeed from day one, closing the achievement gap, reducing class sizes and strengthening career technical education.
Looking beyond K-12, we need to rein in the constant rise of college tuition and control the outrageous costs and risks associated with student loans. The state must make it easier for people to attend college – not put it further and further out of reach. We must demand that our state colleges and university campuses become more efficient.
Ensuring everyone has the opportunity to succeed, of course, extends beyond education. It includes growing the economy and creating the high-skilled jobs of today – and tomorrow. We also need to reinvest in our infrastructure, from our roads and bridges, to our parks, to our water systems, to our hospitals, to broadband.
Lastly, it means ensuring we have a clean and sustainable environment, from protecting our natural resources, to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, to promoting renewable energy.
I’ve worked hard at the local level to “renew” our community; I’d like to work on doing the same thing at the state level. We can do better for our community and all California.
- What would you consider your biggest accomplishments while on council?
I am very proud of the many things we’ve accomplished as a community in my time on the City Council. Key accomplishments include bringing fiscal stability to the city, leading the regional surface water project through a thicket of legal, political and financial challenges, furthering economic development and creating jobs, promoting renewable energy and improving public health through the Healthy Families Initiative.