Monday, July 25, 2016

Wolk wins praise for 26 years of solving problems

By Ryan McCarthy

From page A1 | July 22, 2016

FAIRFIELD — State Sen. Lois Wolk, praised Thursday for work that ranged from securing $4.2 million for the Fairfield Cordelia Library to saving lives by helping fix the blood alley that was Highway 12, said her job allowed her to do what she most enjoys – solving problems.

“I’m a jigsaw puzzle fan,” said Wolk, D-Davis.

She spoke at the Solano Economic Development Corporation breakfast after 12 elected officials – including the seven mayors of Solano County – recounted how Wolk served the region during her 26 years as a public official.

Fairfield Mayor Harry Price, the final speaker before Wolk, noted the money she got for the local library and said he and the state senator are from Pennsylvania.

“Public education is really important to us,” Price said.

Dubbed the first stop on her farewell tour as Wolk ends a career that began in 1990 with election to the Davis City Council, Rep. Mike Thompson began the tributes during the event at the Hilton Garden Inn.

He joked about Wolk representing the “People’s Republic of Davis” and called local government “tough service” that’s more demanding than legislative work in Sacramento or Washington, D.C.

You hear at the grocery store from constituents who want to know why a pothole hasn’t been fixed, said Thompson, D-St. Helena.

“I’m glad you’re my state senator,” he told Wolk.

Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering spoke about how Wolk always returned phone calls. Supervisor Skip Thomson called her a “true advocate for the Delta.” Supervisor John Vasquez described Wolk as “a tough negotiator.”

Osby Davis, mayor of Vallejo, recalled that after the city filed for bankruptcy in 2008 that Wolk helped exempt Vallejo from losing $8 million in revenue to the state.

Wolk responded to his request for help, the mayor said, even though Vallejo was not in the legislative district she represented.

“If it’s right, it’s right,” Davis said.

“You’re the kind of public servant all of us should strive to be,” he told Wolk.

Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine said Wolk “always came to the rescue of our city.”

Dixon Mayor Jack Batchelor Jr. recounted how the city in April discovered an attempt to divert a vendor’s $1.3 million electronic fund transfer into a fraudulently held bank account – and Wolk’s legislative assistance to Dixon to deal with the situation.

“You saved our bacon many, many times,” Batchelor told Wolk.

Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Napa, spoke about Wolk’s having “an uncanny ability to create warm partnerships in the state Legislature.”

“We’re going to miss her leadership,” said Dodd, who seeks election Nov. 8 as the new state senator representing the 3rd District as Wolk terms out of office.

Wolk said at the end of the event that she’s been asked if she’ll miss the around-the-clock world of serving as a lawmaker in Sacramento.

“I honestly don’t know,” she said.

“That doesn’t frighten me,” Wolk said. “I’m looking forward to that.”

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or