Nearly 40 years of state and local government experience

I have over 30 years of state and local government experience, and a long career in public interest law. I have served on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors for the past 12 years.

I was born in Buffalo, New York in 1955.  From 1968 until I left for College, I lived in Camarillo in Ventura County. While in Camarillo, I established a mental patient rights project for patients at the Camarillo State Hospital. I then attended UC Santa Barbara, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science in 1977. Following that, I earned my law degree in 1980 from UC Davis. I am a member of the California State Bar.

Speaking at podium
Jim and Donna Provenza with their granddaughter Lilly

From 1980 to 1988 I worked as an attorney and then executive director of Legal Aid of Santa Barbara County. I handled housing and employment discrimination cases for persons of color, women, and children, and represented low income clients in the California Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. I also represented hundreds of victims of domestic violence and child abuse and directed an elderly law project.

In 1988, my family and I moved to Sacramento, where I worked as a managing attorney for Legal Services of Northern California, representing victims of housing discrimination in federal court.

Then, from 1989-1992, I served as counsel to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Bill Lockyer. I wrote California’s hate crime law and legislation related to the reform of the criminal justice system. I later served as chief counsel to the Assembly Public Safety Committee, where I investigated medical conditions for AIDS patients at Vacaville State Prison. I also worked to ensure that criminal justice legislation was fair to all parties. We moved back to Davis in 1994.

I represented the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office at the state capitol for over 20 years. I was responsible for the enactment of California’s stalking law and legislation permitting guns to be removed from the possession of domestic violence perpetrators. I worked with Darrell Steinberg to enact the strongest workplace safety law in the country. The law established a felony penalty for an employer who causes the death of a worker through willful safety violations. I also helped to enact landmark environmental legislation and laws protecting consumers from fraud.

I first entered public office in 2003 as a Member of the School Board. I supported excellence in education for all our students, advocated for special needs children, and actively supported efforts to address the achievement gap.
As a country supervisor I have worked to establish alternatives to a punitive criminal justice system, such as the mental health court, a day reporting center, neighborhood courts, and the participation of mental health professionals in responding to public safety calls.
I was responsible for enacting Yolo County’s agricultural protection ordinance, one of the strongest in the state, obtained funds for clean-up of environmental waste, helped enact a habitat conservation plan, and supported enactment of one of California’s first climate action plans.

Jim Provenza Heads First 5 Yolo
4 Generations of Provenzas

Throughout the years, I have worked hard to build coalitions and promote collaboration, even among those with different points of view. I am committed to improving the quality of life for all residents of Yolo County.

I reside in Davis with my wife, Donna, a retired sociology professor. Donna’s mother, Rose Calabria, age 98, lives with us. We have two children and 3 granddaughters. During the Pandemic, we have been sheltering in place with four generations of my family.

Jim with wife Donna and former Assemblymember Mariko Yamada
Scroll to Top