Davis seeks to be public servant, not politician

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   He may be seeking political office, but Robert L. Davis wants citizens to know politics isn't what motivates him.
   "I am not a politician. I just want to try to make things better for our county," said Davis, 59, who is running for a county commission seat in the 8th District.
   Davis could make history as the first African-American elected to the county commission. However, he said he saw himself as someone who would be elected on his merits like every other candidate.
   "I look at it as being an individual elected by the citizens of Carter County and the citizens of the my district," said Davis.
   The county's education system and economic development were two priorities the 26-year military veteran said he would strongly support if elected. He also felt the county needed to develop a stronger job market to keep the county and city's young people in the area.
   "I'd like to see our schools receive better funding," said Davis. "I'd also like to see things happen in the county and city to keep our young people from having to leave the county."
   Davis also said the county's senior citizens needed more assistance and infrastructure improvements particularly to the county's roads and state highways.
   "The northern connector is going to be a big help," he said.
   He said he supported the Watauga Regional Water Authority's efforts to establish a new water source from the Watauga River to supply areas of the city and county.
   "Cleaner and better water is something we all need," said Davis. "I've lived in the same house for the last 22 years and my water is not the highest quality."
   Davis said the authority's work should include improving existing water systems in the city and county.
   "I've driven up and down the highways and seen water lines with water coming up all over the street," he said.
   The county's hiring of a financial director would take a significant burden from the next county executive. That new office should give the next executive a greater role in economic development for the county.
   Davis also felt countywide zoning could be a positive thing provided its enforcement did not single out only a few county residents.
   "I believe countywide zoning would be beneficial to everyone if it is done appropriately without showing favoritism," he said. "If zoning is done equally throughout the county, I think it will be a good thing."
   A veteran of both Vietnam and the Gulf War, Davis spent over six years in the U.S. Marine Corps and seven years in the U.S. Army where he attained the rank of captain. He also served as a chief warrant officer with the Tennessee National Guard.
   Davis is retired from the U.S. Department Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, where he was assistant chief of environment management services. He currently serves as administrative assistant for Phillippi Missionary Baptist Church in Elizabethton.
   He is married to Sandra Davis, who has been employed with the City of Elizabethton for over 20 years. The couple have three children and reside in the Harold McCormick precinct.
   "People can come and talk to me about different things and I feel I can be their voice on the commission," he said. "I don't feel that I have to say 'yes' to things everyone else says yes to if the people in my district don't feel that way."