The well-worn trail from the city of Davis to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors to the state Assembly will come to an end in two years, now that Davis’ two representatives on the Board of Supervisors have announced they will not seek election to the Assembly seat being vacated by Mariko Yamada in 2014.
Both Don Saylor and Jim Provenza have announced they will remain on the county board, with Saylor saying he intends to run for re-election in 2014 and Provenza planning to serve out his full term, which doesn’t end until 2016.
That means if someone from Davis is going to represent the 4th District in the Assembly when Yamada is termed out, that someone will have to come from someplace other than the Board of Supervisors for the first time in 18 years.
Davis has had a bit of a stranglehold on the district — originally the 8th District, and after reapportionment last year, the 4th — beginning with Helen Thomson, who went from the Board of Supervisors to the Assembly in 1996. She was followed six years later by Lois Wolk, now in the state Senate, who jumped from county office to the Assembly in 2002. Yamada followed the same path in 2008.
Yamada will term out in 2014, and, given past history, there was much speculation that either Saylor or Provenza would seek her seat.
But both have announced that they will stay where they are for the time being.
“I am committed to completing the tasks I have undertaken as a county supervisor,” Provenza said last week. “I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow supervisors to craft plans to permanently protect farm land and habitat while promoting jobs and economic development in Yolo County.”
Provenza said his priorities, similar to those he cited when he ran for re-election last year, include improvements to mental health services, more effective assistance for children and senior citizens, public safety and a sound county budget.
For his part, Saylor said, “making a difference at a local level is a satisfying and good place for me to be.
“I love this business of Yolo County supervisor,” he said. “I can be of use on things big and small.”
Staying on the Board of Supervisors also will allow him to continue to focus on the issues on which he’s taken the lead of late. Among them: improving food security in Yolo County, bolstering the local agricultural economy, maintaining and enhancing the safety net and continuing to work on economic development.
Running for the Assembly — and its two-year terms — would take up so much time, he said, it would hamper his ability to accomplish those goals.
The last time Davis was represented in the Assembly by someone not from Davis was in 1996, when Tom Hannigan, a Democrat from Solano County, retired after 18 years representing the district. That was followed by 18 years of representation by Davis Democratic women. Whether that trend will continue remains to be seen.
The 4th District includes all or part of six counties, including Yolo, Solano, Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Colusa. In her final Assembly election, Yamada easily beat Republican John Munn of Davis to hold on to the seat last fall.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at email@example.com or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy