Don Saylor retired from his position as Yolo County Supervisor at the end of 2022 after twelve years on the Board. Don was first elected to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014 and 2018. Don served as the Chair of the Board of Supervisors in 2014 and 2019.
Don’s public service spans over 47 years. In his professional career, he served in leadership, planning and analytical roles in both the executive and legislative branches of California State government. Prior to joining the Board of Supervisors, Don served as a member of the Davis City Council from 2004 through 2010 and was Mayor in 2010. He also served as an elected member of the Board of Trustees for the Davis Joint Unified School District from 1995 through 2003 and was Board President in 1999 and 2002.
Don earned a Bachelor's Degree in History from the University of Wyoming and a Master's Degree in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. While a student at the LBJ School, Don served as Research Assistant to former Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. His graduate studies focused on economic development and employment and training policies.
As a County Supervisor, Don worked hard to sustain and enhance the safety net for Yolo County’s most vulnerable populations, strengthen the food system to end food insecurity and nurture the local agricultural economy, steward the open space and environment of Yolo County, support a strong local economy through investment in infrastructure and strategic policies, and create and maintain effective partnerships among governmental agencies and between the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
A former Mayor of Davis, Don served two terms on the Davis City Council where he helped establish sound fiscal policies and create a 15% General Fund reserve, launch economic development strategies leading to attraction of Digital Technology Laboratories and other businesses, advance the surface water project through the creation of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency, adopt the most visionary affordable housing ordinance in the state, and make significant investments in the Varsity Theatre, the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame, and Bistro 33 to enhance the vitality of downtown Davis.
During his time as President and Trustee of the School Board for the Davis Joint Unified School District, Don helped the district tackle a wide variety of projects including the construction of the Davis Senior High School Gym, the Brunelle Theatre, Harper Junior High, Montgomery Elementary and Korematsu Elementary, as well as the modernization of all schools in the district. In addition, he helped lead the design and implementation of an array of program enhancements and student services including enhanced special education, expansion of Advanced Placement opportunities at the high school, adding foreign language at the junior high level, and maintaining a strong academic and fine arts curriculum for all students.
In 2004, Don gathered his friends for a fundraising event at his home where he served soup made in his own kitchen. Before the night was over, it was decided that this would be an annual event known as "Don Saylor's Soup's On." Since then, there have been seventeen Soup's On gatherings, over 6,000 soup eaters, hundreds of sponsors and donors, plus immeasurable awareness and more than $400,000 raised for local nonprofits. Learn more at the Soup's On page.
In 2022, shortly after announcing his retirement, Don began fielding questions like, "What's next?" and "How can we help celebrate your stellar career?" from community members. Don and Julie, along with their children, Aaron and Kate, decided to establish the Saylor Family Scholarship in order to support post-secondary education for high school seniors who have faced significant life challenges and to give back to the communities of Davis and Winters. More information about the scholarship can be found at the Saylor Family Scholarship page.
Over the years, Don's staff have joked that "Storytime with Saylor" is one of the most underrated perks of working with Don. From his decades of engagement with people and issues, Don has stored away more anecdotes and lessons than any biography could ever hold. Catch a glimpse into "Storytime" at the Reflections page.
Don continues to be active in many local and regional efforts.