05/04/08 — Davis says he knows needs of Senate District 5

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Davis says he knows needs of Senate District 5

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on May 4, 2008 2:00 AM



News-Argus Staff Writer

Undeterred by the size of the 5th state Senate district, Snow Hill Mayor Don Davis is optimistic about his chances of coming out on top in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

"I'm extremely excited. I think the district really is very much a reflection of my life. I grew up in Greene and Wayne counties, and for the last 10 years, I've worked in Pitt County," he said. "For me this is part of my normal life, and I believe we're connecting with voters across the district.

"I think we're going to have a very positive day on Election Day."

But that connection with voters, he explained, isn't being created by any one issue, bur rather by something that he believes is deeper than that.

"We will give a voice to all the residents. People have said to me that the status quo isn't good enough," Davis said. "It's important that our government work for the people. But what I'm hearing from the people I've spoken to is that the Senate isn't working for them.

"But I bring enough energy and passion and experience to the table to make that happen, because I'd say without a doubt that our campaign is the people's campaign. I'm not going to Raleigh by myself, we're all going there. We're all in this together."

And that means addressing issues like education, health care and the economy.

"Those are the things we're hearing out there," Davis said.

In terms of education, he explained that the state needs to "concentrate on finding ways to strengthen our schools and allow all of our students to excel."

That's why he's proposing a statewide effort based on a Greene County model that exposes students to what he described as "community service learning" -- learning done through hands-on, practical work in the community.

"If we can come up with more creative ways of engaging students, research tell us that they will tend to feel more like a part of a community," he said.

But in order to come up with those plans, he added, it helps to have somebody with a background in education.

"I believe that if you look at policies and what's actually happening in the classroom, it's important to have somebody as close to that classroom as possible," the former East Carolina University lecturer and current Pitt and Lenoir community colleges instructor said.

That's also why he thinks he's the best equipped of his five opponents to help protect Seymour Johnson Air Force Base -- because he spent eight years in the U.S. Air Force before leaving as a captain.

"One thing I'm really proud of is my Air Force experience," Davis said. "I understand the importance of Seymour Johnson and its economic impact. I think it's important to have somebody who understands how the mission of the base ties into our national security."

But he also knows that he can't improve education and protect Seymour Johnson by himself.

"I have my own ideas about what direction to take the district, but I believe it's important to bring in other leaders and residents from across the district and really set a strong agenda for our region," he said. "Then we need to take that agenda and work with other legislators, especially others in the east."

and continue to spread that message to really advance eastern North Carolina."