Mayor Joe Krovoza’s overture to his campaign for the 2014 state Assembly is two-fold:
“It comes down to two things: leadership and expertise. I’ve spent 20 plus years with various projects in the community, whether it’s environmental, business development or educational. I want to carry that leadership and expertise to the state level.”
And he’s trusting these attributes will guide him to representation of the 4th District when the designation passes from Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, a Davis Democrat who terms out next year.
Word came that Krovoza was running for the position in May, but his formal campaign kickoff was Friday. He’s competing for the 4th District, which encompasses all of Lake and Napa counties, plus portions of Yolo, Colusa, Solano and Sonoma counties.
Krovoza began serving as Davis’ mayor after Don Saylor vacated his seat for the Yolo County Board of Supervisors in 2011. The year prior, he was a self-described relatively unknown political figure.
“In my (2010 Davis City Council) campaign, I was a first-time runner with no real name recognition in the community,” he said. “I had no campaign consultant. I just pulled 15 of my friends together to ask how they’d like a political campaign run.”
Still, Krovoza achieved more votes than any of the other candidates in that election, earning 8,696 votes (37.7 percent). He attained a greater percentage of the vote by far than any of the council aspirants in elections more than 10 years prior.
Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk followed up with 10,212 votes (29 percent) in the 2012 Davis City Council election. Wolk is also in contention for the Assembly seat, along with Lake County supervisor Anthony Farrington and Napa County Planning Commissioner Matt Pope.
Though Krovoza wasn’t as prominent before his election to the Davis City Council, he has a long history of involvement in the city. It began at UC Davis’ School of Law, where he studied natural resources and environmental law, with a focus on water law.
While attending the university, he worked for the nonprofit Putah Creek Council and chaired the group for several years after graduation. His volunteerism earned him the “Environmental Recognition Award” in 2001, on behalf of Putah Creek.
He also may have been known as more of a bike advocate — given that he was part of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Commission, the bi-weekly Davis Enterprise bike column, and the Davis Bicycles! advocacy group — than a politician.
Krovoza also has acted as a primary liaison to the Davis Joint Unified School District, as well as a number of city commissions; such as in his position as director for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, vice chair of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency JPA and chair member of the Amtrak Mayors’ Advisory Council.
Even while tackling the responsibilities of a Davis mayor and council member, Krovoza works for the UCD Institute of Transportation Studies and its Energy Efficiency Center. His experience at these positions have informed his aforementioned opinion on having leadership that triumphs expertise:
“One of the things that I find particularly important is grafting science and facts onto policy. With my jobs at (UCD) … the idea is to do research and outreach that benefits the state of California. I truly feel an obligation to continue that theme.”
As for the leadership he finds similarly essential to a would-be Assemblyman, he cited his involvement in the ongoing effort to avoid mortgaging Davis’ financial future by re-thinking the city’s budgetary priorities.
“In terms of accomplishments, No. 1 is really the truth in budgeting that we’ve adopted,” he said. “When I arrived, we were staring at a $7.5 million structural deficit for the city. We have almost turned that all the way around.
“We’ve done it by restructuring staff — a reduction in overall staffing at the city from an overall 425 people to 375 — to live within our means. We have also restructured labor contracts in a way that is both fair to the workers and the city.”
Krovoza continued to explain that it’s those same principles — a focus on the production of long-term fiscal sustainability — that need extending to state government.
“We need to make sure that California isn’t in this constant waxing and waning state of projections,” he said. “We need to be disciplined, we need to figure out what the growth of the state can sustain, and make investments within those means.”
Among the repertoire of interests Krovoza has in his campaign for the 4th District: merging business development with environmental sustainability, preserving urban quality of life, and improving California’s mental health care and higher education systems.
And the opportunity to get in an office that will allow him to work toward changes such as these, Krovoza said, is the primary reason for his candidacy.
“I’m not looking for politics and legislative service to be my career,” he explained. “I’m looking to take my career and my network to the legislature.
“I’m 50, so the ability to take what I’ve learned for my first 50 years of experience and apply it for the next 10 to 15 years is an obligation I feel.”
— Reach Brett Johnson at [email protected] or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett