Davis campaigns for District 3
by Eric Johnson
Her Election Committee reads like a Who’s Who of Augusta movers and shakers, and her stint as Mayor Deke Copenhaver’s campaign manager doesn’t exactly scream Everywoman, but to hear District 3 Commission Candidate Mary Fair Davis speak about the Augusta she wants for her kids, she sounds like she could be speaking about any of Augusta’s 10 districts.
“People want our city government to work together,” she said. “I plan to listen to the needs of Augustans and bring those needs to the table. I feel like I’m going to be a communicator and help people collaborate.”
Davis, who currently works part time in development for St. Mary’s, is running against former Coliseum Authority attorney Ed Enoch and Cleveland O’Steen for the District 3 seat held by Joe Bowles, who will be term limited out of office.
“We’ve been busy since December, so I’m excited that we’re in the home stretch,” Davis said.
Though she obviously has campaign experience, this is the first time Davis has been a candidate, and while she said she enjoyed working behind the scenes, she also said she’s learning to appreciate being the one actually running for the job.
“The biggest difference is that you get to talk to people first hand about their concerns and their needs,” she said. “I’ve really appreciated getting to know people in that way, and I’ve formed a lot of new relationships that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to form if I wasn’t the candidate.”
Though conventional wisdom says that the upcoming elections will have a high turnout, Augusta is coming off a hotly contested primary and runoff. Is it possible that after paying so much attention to local campaigns, voters will be politically hungover and fail to turn out come November?
“I think actually the primary and the runoff has energized more voters,” she said. “It’s also made them realize that every vote does count and that these races can be close, and if they want their votes to be heard, they need to vote.”
She said she believes the voters understand that there is a lot at stake.
“They want us to make decisions based on all of Augusta, not just individual districts,” she said.
Sounding a little like Copenhaver, who has always maintained a positive, pro-growth equilibrium, Davis emphasized that she would do everything she could to make sure Augusta was the safest, cleanest city possible, because a safe, clean city is what attracts new businesses.
As for the candidate forums, she said she’s welcomed the chance to learn more about her opponents.
“The only thing difficult to me about a forum is that you don’t have a lot of time to try to get your point across,” she said.
While Enoch has logged plenty public exposure with the Coliseum Authority, Davis doesn’t see that name recognition as an advantage.
“I’ve been involved in so many hard decisions and big decisions that have helped change Augusta State University and the Medical College of Georgia,” she said. “I might be the one who’s behind the scenes bringing people together, but the outcome is so impactful for that organization that I work for.”
So instead of trying to compete with that exposure, she concentrates on the relationship building that has been part of her professional career since she jointed ASU in 1996.
“I’ve done alumni relations and fundraising and development work my whole career,” she said. “That’s what I do every day — I bring people together, and I’m going to continue to listen to the needs of Augustans.”
Ultimately, she said, her reason for running was to make sure her daughter Morgan, 15, and son Charlie, 11, would want to live in Augusta after college and raise their families here.
“People have been very welcoming of my campaign,” she said. “They’ve been very receptive of what I’m saying.”You Might Also Like: