Grass Valley’s Sauer picked for top state post |

Grass Valley’s Sauer picked for top state post

Life can change in an instant. Just ask Tony Sauer of Grass Valley.

Almost 29 years ago, Sauer was a Nevada Union High School graduate, “on top of the world, riding in the biggest race of my life,” he said, when he crashed at the semi-pro motocross event in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

“The next thing I knew I was laying in the goal post area being poked to see if I could feel anything.”

It turns out Sauer, now 46, was paralyzed, and he started his lifelong quest to have a productive life and later, to help other disabled people. For the past four years, he has been running the Nevada-Sierra Regional In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority, matching home care workers with those in need in Nevada, Sierra and Plumas counties.

This week another major turn came for Sauer, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him director of the Department of Rehabilitation, the agency that assists the disabled in California to get jobs and live independently.

Sauer is a Democrat who worked for former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, so he thought it might be an issue when he applied, but apparently it was not.

“Socially I’m liberal but after being raised in Nevada County, I’m very fiscally conservative,” Sauer said. “I’m not the only Democrat in his administration.”

For the full story, see Saturday’s edition of The Union.

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