02/13/12 — Davis to run for 5th District

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Davis to run for 5th District

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on February 13, 2012 1:46 PM

Don Davis

Former state senator Don Davis is running for office again, two years after losing the District 5 seat to current Sen. Louis Pate.

Davis announced Friday he would run for the Democratic nomination in the majority-minority District 5, which encompasses parts of Wayne, Lenoir and Pitt counties and all of Greene. Davis is from Snow Hill.

If he wins the nomination, though, he would not be facing Pate, who, after the 2011 redistricting, is now in the newly formed District 7.

There have been no other declared candidates for the seat.

Davis, who served one term in the state Senate after beating Pate in 2008, stayed active in politics after his 2010 loss as chairman of the First Congressional District Democratic Party, which encompasses 23 counties in eastern North Carolina.

He said his decision to run again, though, came after the urging of supporters -- many of them worried about the deep cuts made by the Republican-dominated legislature last year, especially in education.

"Many people have shown concern about education cuts being too deep. And I believe they did cut too much and that those cuts made it into the classroom," he said. "We have to ask ourselves very tough questions -- 'Did it go too far and are we positioning our students to have the best future they can?'"

And, he added, as a 15-year veteran of higher education, including time on the faculty at Lenoir Community College and East Carolina University -- where he's also currently a member of the Board of Visitors -- he's concerned not just about K-12 classrooms, but also higher education.

He also said he wants to help the state continue to put its economy back on track and help create jobs -- without the partisan battles that have occurred between the Republican legislature and the Democratic governor's office.

"People are still struggling, trying to make it, looking for jobs," Davis said. "While people are worried about their future and looking for jobs, all they see is bickering taking place in Washington and even Raleigh."

But he acknowledges that if elected, he would be facing a different General Assembly than the one he left. Previously, Davis served in the majority party, holding positions on committees focusing on dropout prevention; agriculture, environment and natural resource; military affairs; education; education appropriations; health care appropriations; transportation; and local government.

He expressed confidence, though, that he would be able to work with members on both sides of the aisle.

"I can only take care of myself. I am willing to meet with and work with whomever, anytime, anyplace for us to do good things for people, and I think that what it comes down to, we have to put people first in the decisions being made.

"That's something that cuts across party lines -- the need to look at people's issues, look at their concerns and move forward. So we're going to give it another go."

Davis, 40, who is a former member of the U.S. Air Force and a graduate of the Air Force Academy, also served as mayor of Snow Hill before his 2008 election to the state Senate. He is married with three children.