2015 Progress Report

Dear friends,

As the year comes to a close, it is my pleasure to share with you a report on all the progress we have made in 2015. This newsletter includes summaries of my accomplishments in Yolo County and as the Board Chair of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), as well as a preview of what's to come in 2016.  

I look forward to working for you in the new year!

In shared service,
Don Saylor

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Working For You -- Assembly District 4

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your friendship and support over the years. I am excited to tell you that I have decided to seek election to the California State Assembly (Assembly District 4) in the June 2016 Primary Election.  

Assemblymember Bill Dodd has announced that he is running for the California State Senate seat currently held by State Senator Lois Wolk when Lois concludes her service under term limits at the end of this term.  Bill's departure from the Assembly creates an open seat that few had anticipated.

My commitment to public service spans over 40 years, including service as a local elected official for the past 20 years.  I was elected in 1995 and 1999 to the Davis School Board in 2004 and 2008, to the Davis City Council, and in 2010 and 2014 to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. 

From improving our 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 long term planning, climate action, affordable 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. (For additional information, see http://www.donsaylor.org/.)

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 add value and built long lasting partnerships. I look forward to applying these lessons to serve you on another stage.

California is an amazing place.  Our region is rising as a major contributor to the global economy. I am compelled to seek election to the Assembly to help all Californians thrive.  I will work for you to build on our economic assets, steward our natural resources, invest in our future through infrastructure and education, and strengthen our commitment to our most vulnerable populations. Too often public dialogue has become polarized.  I want to help bring balance and fairness to the public square.

Over the next year, I look forward to discussing the assets and challenges facing California and the communities of Assembly District 4. 

I look forward to hearing from you and will be reaching out to you in this new adventure.  Together we can continue to make a difference.

In Shared Service,
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Don Saylor Announces Appointment of Supervisor’s Deputy

Dear friends,

I am pleased to inform you that, effective July 27, 2015, Tara Thronson will be joining the District 2 Office as Supervisor’s Deputy.

Tara most recently worked as a Project Leader at Valley Vision, a nonprofit social enterprise that strengthens communities in the Sacramento region through research, collaboration and leadership.  For six years she managed a range of regional initiatives at Valley Vision to improve the economic, social, and environmental prosperity of the Sacramento Capital Region.  Among the projects she has worked on are rural broadband, air quality, and homelessness.  In 2014 Tara helped introduce Village Square to the Sacramento region, a national effort that enables civil dialogue among neighbors on tough public policy topics. 

Tara was recognized in 2013 by the Sacramento Business Journal as one of their "40 under 40" honorees for her regional leadership.  She earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tulane University and can draw on past work experience that ranges from making tacos to participating on the team responsible for building the external fuel tank on the space shuttle. 

I am delighted that Tara Thronson will be joining our Yolo County team.  I am confident she will serve our people well and make an immediate contribution to our efforts to improve food security, strengthen the safety net, steward our county’s environmental resources, support our county’s economic development and build regional partnerships.

You can learn more about Tara here.

Please join me in welcoming Tara upon her arrival on July 27.



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Don Saylor, Accomplishments and Goals for 2015

I love working for the people of Yolo County.  I have been a member of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors since 2011 and was the 2014 Board Chair. I am excited to announce that in January I was sworn in as the Board Chair for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. Follow this link for the full press release: SACOG.


My public service spans four decades and includes:


  • Mayor and Councilmember in Davis (2004-2010);
  • Davis School Board Trustee (1995-2003);
  • Fiscal Analyst with California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office;
  • Nearly 20 years in leadership roles in California state government;
  • Local government positions in Wyoming and Massachusetts.


I work to keep Yolo County a special place for all of us.  My leadership priorities are:


  • Strengthen Yolo’s safety net for our most vulnerable residents.
  • Provide responsible stewardship for Yolo’s unique open space, agriculture, environment, water, and habitat.
  • Build stronger partnerships and advocate for Yolo County throughout the region and state.
  • Enhance program effectiveness, cost efficiency, and performance measurement in county government.


Cornerstones of my service during my first term as your Yolo County Supervisor include:


  • Overhauled ambulance services for greater accountability and faster responses in rural areas.
  • Initiated long-term plans for the Yolo Children’s Alliance and the Local Mental Health Board.
  • Led implementation of Laura’s Law and secured crises intervention funding to treat those with severe mental illness.
  • Worked to balance accountability with evidence based treatment practices as criminal justice responsibilities shifted from the state to counties.
  • Chaired First 5 Yolo - expanded Family Resource Centers to serve low-income families at nine locations throughout county.
  • Worked to strengthen our local food system and address hunger in Yolo.  Convened Yolo/Solano Ag Economy Summit in 2011 and Yolo Food Connect Summit in 2012.  Organized Yolo Farm to Every Fork in 2013 - a month-long series of events focused on food security.
  • Chaired Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) Transportation Committee as we allocated over $180 million in infrastructure investments.  I will be Chair of the six-county SACOG Board in 2015.
  • Chaired Yolo/Solano Air Quality Management District as we balanced needed regulatory requirements with small business realities.
  • Chaired the Yolo Natural Heritage Program planning countywide habitat conservation.
  • Served on the statewide Executive Board of the Cities, Counties, Schools Partnership and the California Commission on State Mandates.
  • Conducted four annual Soup’s On fundraisers supporting Suicide Prevention, Foster Care, Yolo Food Bank – Kids’ Farmers Market, and Meals on Wheels.


I am most effective when I hear from you.  Please visit me during my open office hour sessions or through www.donsaylor.org.


I remain committed to the safety net, stewardship, partnerships, and effective governance.  I thank you for your support.  

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Intern Perspective-Taylor Cunningham

My name is Taylor Cunningham, and I’m a second year Comparative Literature and Italian double major at UC Davis. I love to write, especially on social justice issues. Working with Don for the past eight months has brought me closer to the community of Davis, and allowed me to give a voice to the people of Yolo County in need.  

I met Don at the Davis Farmers Market September 2013. I interviewed him for a story for The Aggie about the Farmers Market, was inspired by the work that he was doing in the community related to food systems and hunger, and immediately knew that I wanted to get involved. 

I started to work with Don as a journalism intern writing for the newsletter, and in December 2013, added work with one of Don’s outreach programs, promoting CalFresh to UC Davis students. With Don’s help, I’ve been working closely with members of Yolo County Health and Employment and Social Services Departments to come up with fresh ways to educate students about CalFresh and to make it easier for them to apply.

Working with Don has allowed me to explore my passions in a supportive and low pressure environment. When I meet someone who knows Don, they have nothing but positive things to say about him, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with and learn from someone who is so well respected in our community. 

-Taylor Cunningham, UC Davis District 2 Intern 

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BIG Day of Giving!

Big Day of Giving! 

     May 6th was the Big Day of Giving, a day that called on Yolo County to support their favorite Non-Profit organizations. Regionally over $3 million was donated in just that one day with over $200,000 given to programs that serve Yolo County! Congratulations to all the local organizations who benefited from this great movement and special thanks to everyone who donated:  

Winters Friends of the Library     Yolo Basin Foundation     Davis Musical Theatre Company     UC Davis Arboretum & Public Garden     Los Rios Foundation     Davis Arts Center     Yolo Food Bank      Center for Land-Based Learning     Mutual Housing California     Citizens Who Care     Woodland Opera House     Yolo County CASA     Elderly Nutrition Program/Meals on Wheels of Yolo County     Yolo Hospice Inc.     Cache Creek Conservancy     Davis Schools Orchestral Music Association     YoloArts     Legal Services of Northern California     Explorit Science Center     Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Center     Nonprofit Resource Center     Tuleyome     Davis Community Meals     Suicide Prevention of Yolo County     Davis Media Access     West Sacramento City Historical Society     Yolo Land Trust     Friends of the Davis Public Library     Pence Gallery Association     Cool Davis Foundation     American Association of University Women     Yolo Community Foundation     Woodland Schools Foundation     Yolo County Children's Alliance     Yolo Community Care Continuum     Woodland Community College Foster and Kinship Foundation     Turning Point Community Programs     Sutter Health     Friends of the Esparto Regional Library     Area 4 Agency on Aging     Yolo Family Resource Center     CommuniCare Health Centers     WarmLine Family Resource Center     California Center for Cooperative Development     Yolo Family Service Agency     UC Davis School of Education     Valley Vision, Inc.     Woodland Literacy Council     

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Construction Apprenticeships for Highly Motivated Workers

Efforts to reduce unemployment in Yolo County have been greatly enhanced by Supervisor Don Saylor and the rest of the board through a unique local program that has just been approved for expansion into Woodland. That program, Northern California Construction Training (NCCT), is a non-profit, community-based organization that trains individuals who are interested in careers in construction. 

The program accepts highly-motivated people who are willing to work hard and is open to all. In return, students gain the valuable skills and experience necessary to break into a great career that could offer them a livable wage.

Trainees are taught by instructors who have years of experience in building and working with students. Upon program completion NCCT helps graduates find paid apprenticeships in one of sixteen trades including plumbers, carpenters, plasterers, electricians, sheet metal workers, laborers and ironworkers. The group boasts an eighty-five percent record of success over the last twelve years.

In addition to the core construction-based curriculum NCCT also offers a wealth of classes designed for life-skills enrichment. These include personal financial planning, improvement in reading, writing and math, development of proper work habits and attitudes, first aid, obtainment of a driver’s license and even GED preparation when necessary.

NCCT now has approval by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors to expand their locations to include the City of Woodland at 1250 East Gum Avenue. This expansion will allow better access to opportunities for job training and life preparation for Yolo County residents. 

For more information call 916-372-7422 or visit NCCT on the web here

By: Steve Rea
      Assistant Deputy to Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor

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Helping Veterans Grow in Yolo County Agriculture

For Michael O’Gorman, choosing the City of Davis as his home base to help veterans build a career in agriculture was a no brainer. O’Gorman is the Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, a non-profit organization that offers consulting, funding, and marketing options to veterans seeking jobs in agriculture, either as business owners or employees in the industry. 

The Farmer Veteran Coalition was started in 2009, and is funded through grants as well as private and corporate donations. It has a membership of over 2,600 people, and it grows by approximately 100 members per month. Membership in the coalition varies from people still on active duty who are in the research stage to veterans with fully fledged businesses.

Passage of the 2014 Farm Bill has also provided the organization with more ways to help Veterans. Transition Incentive programs help Veterans purchasing land. Direct Operating Loan assistance through the USDA provides limits on interest rates. Numerous outreach and education programs provide technical assistance to existing farmers and learning opportunities for those new to the business. 

The Farmer Veteran Coalition has granted more than $350,000 to over 65 veterans. These grants help finance the specific needs of each veteran as they seek to grow their business. The coalition also provides farmers with guidance. On staff, they have lawyers, food safety experts, business experts, and people that help to build the resumes of veterans that want to get into agriculture related jobs.

With a soft launch on May 1, a national certification label called Homegrown by Heroes will allow veterans to brand their products as at least 50 percent veteran produced. Currently, 12 veterans are in the process of getting this certification, but by the time the hard launch occurs next year, they expect numbers between 60 and 100.

California’s strong agricultural presence and large population made it immediately appealing for the program’s home base, but the strong agricultural foundation of UC Davis made the City of Davis the ultimate choice. There are staff and coalition members in all 50 states and, even some territories. The Farmer Veteran Coalition doesn’t have an official sponsorship with UC Davis, but has worked with the university in the past, and plans to again in the future. 

By: Taylor Cunningham
      Second-year International Relations major at UC Davis


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Upcoming Job Fair & Youth Success Camp

Supervisor Saylor is partnering with Congressman John Garamendi and the Yolo Workforce Investment Board (WIB) to present an event focused on high school and college age youth.  The event will take place on June 16th from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the Yolo County One Stop Career Center at 25 N. Cottonwood Street in Woodland.

This event will have several components geared toward assisting youth in finding pathways to success in college, careers or other training options.  While aimed at youth, everyone is welcome and the event is free of charge.

Job Fair
Attendees will have the chance to meet over 30 local employers as well as learn more about several apprenticeship programs and training opportunities.  All employers present will be currently hiring!  

Youth College Link Success Camp
The Success Camps will include: 1) scholarship workshops, 2) financial aid preparation, & 3) soft skill training - including resume reviews done by professional employment specialists. This is the opportunity for high school age youth to be partnered with a UC Davis student mentor.  There will also be a specific program for community college students.

Resume Review
Everyone is invited to bring their current resume and have it reviewed by our panel of local business leaders.  Constrictive comments will be provided and those without a resume can receive assistance in getting started.
Everyone is welcome and the event is free!  Any students interested in the Success Camps can RSVP by contacting Shelina Noorali at shelina.noorali@mail.house.gov

By: Diane Parro
      Deputy to Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor

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June Letter from Don

Dear Friends,

       Summer is right around the corner! This means many changes from warmer weather to family vacations. This also means that a crop of newly-graduated students are looking for jobs, joining the ranks of those already in the hunt. I know how crucial finding good employment is to every family. We have been working hard to address this need on a variety of levels.

       I am delighted to share that my office has teamed up with Congressman John Garamendi to present a Job Fair & Success Camp on June 16th in Woodland. You can read all about it in a wonderful article from Diane Parro next week.

       One of the values of Yolo County is to champion job creation and economic opportunities. Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for some of the ways that we have been working to maintain this goal for District 2 and all Yolo County residents.

Don Saylor

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