10/11/07 — Don Davis files for John Kerr's seat in N.C. Senate

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Don Davis files for John Kerr's seat in N.C. Senate

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 11, 2007 1:51 PM

With John Kerr, Wayne County's state senator, undecided as to what his plans will be in 2008, Snow Hill Mayor Donald Davis is stepping up and has announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the position.

Davis, who has served as mayor since 2001, also is the chairman of the First Congressional District Democratic Party, which consists of 23 eastern North Carolina counties, including Greene, Wayne and Pitt. State Senate District 5 is made up of parts of Pitt and Wayne counties and all of Greene.

Kerr, who is from Goldsboro, has served eight terms in the state Senate and three in the state House.

"I'm not running against John," Davis said, adding that he spoke to Kerr before making his decision. "I'm running to be the senator for the fifth district.

"He's had success, and I'm running to build on that success. He's taken us in a good direction, and I'm running to take us further in that direction."

Davis also serves on the board of directors for the N.C. League of Municipalities, representing Wilson, Pitt, Greene, Lenoir, Wayne and Johnston counties. Additionally, he serves on the advisory panel of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, as a member of the East Carolina University Board of Visitors and was appointed to the N.C. Code Officials Qualifications Board by Gov. Mike Easley.

A 1994 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Davis reached the rank of captain before retiring after eight years on active duty.

It was the offer of an assistant professor position at ECU that brought Davis -- who holds masters degrees in administration and sociology and a doctorate in education -- back to his hometown of Snow Hill.

Since then, he has taught aerospace studies, military history, national affairs and leadership courses at ECU. Currently, he is teaching sociology as a part-time instructor at Pitt and Lenoir community colleges, as well as serving as a Presbyterian lay minister.

His entry into politics came immediately after his discharge from the Air Force.

He explained that in 2001, he ended his stint with the Air Force on Aug. 2, and filed his paperwork for the mayoral race on Aug. 3. Three months later, he beat a 10-year incumbent with 63 percent of the vote.

"We took our message to people, and that message was heard," Davis said.

And now, he continued, he is looking to do the same thing -- just on a larger scale.

"This is about our future. This is about offering a choice," he said. "I see the 2008 election as deciding the future of our district. There are a lot of critical issues, and I just think this is the right time.

"I believe that the electorate will connect with my background, experience and desire to serve them. My message is simple. It is time for us to come together and take a united voice from eastern North Carolina to Raleigh. It is time for a fresh face. It is time for new ideas and approaches."

Among the issues he is interested in are, protecting Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, providing support to both active and reserve members of the military, improving education and increasing community development in terms of housing, technology and infrastructure.

Kerr, however, hasn't announced yet what his intentions might be for 2008.

"I haven't made a decision yet," he said. "I usually get together with my family and talk about it. You've got to re-evaluate every year.

"Don is a friend of mine, and he did tell me (he was going to run). I've been up there a long time and have gotten a lot done. There's some good people out there and I'm one of them, but if I don't run, they'll be some good people running."