Jo Ann Davis

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Jo Ann Davis
Jo ann davis 2.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 1st district
In office
January 3, 2001 – October 6, 2007
Preceded by Herbert H. Bateman
Succeeded by Robert J. Wittman
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 96th district
In office
January 14, 1998 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by Shirley F. Cooper
Succeeded by Melanie L. Rapp
Personal details
Born (1950-06-29)June 29, 1950
Rowan, North Carolina, U.S.
Died October 6, 2007(2007-10-06) (aged 57)
Gloucester, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Chuck Davis
Alma mater Hampton Roads Business College
Occupation real estate executive
Religion Assemblies of God

Jo Ann Davis (June 29, 1950 – October 6, 2007) was a Representative in the U.S. Congress. A member of the Republican Party from the United States Commonwealth of Virginia, she represented the state's 1st congressional district[1] from 2001 until her death in 2007. She was the second woman—after Leslie L. Byrne—and first Republican woman elected to Congress from Virginia.

Political career[edit]

Davis attended Hampton Roads Business College and worked in real estate before she was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1997. She was reelected in 1999.

In 2000, 1st District Representative Herbert H. Bateman, a 72-year-old incumbent, announced his retirement because of health concerns. He died on September 11, 2000. Davis ran for and won the Republican nomination to succeed him, despite Governor Jim Gilmore's having endorsed her primary opponent; she beat out four other opponents in the primary. In November 2000, she received 58% of the vote to win the seat, defeating Democrat Lawrence A. Davies, and Independents Sharon A. Wood and Josh Billings.[2]

She was the second Virginia woman (after Democrat Leslie Byrne who served one term from the neighboring 11th district from 1993 to 1995), and the first Virginia Republican woman elected to the House in her own right. The First is one of the most Republican-leaning districts in Virginia (no Democrat has won the district since 1977, and only the neighboring 7th district is considered more Republican).[3] Davis was reelected unopposed in 2002. She defeated Independent challenger William A. Lee in 2004. She won a fourth term in 2006 against token Democratic opposition, defeating Democrat Shawn M. O'Donnell and Independent Marvin F. Pixton III. Unlike Bateman, who was relatively moderate by Southern Republican standards, Davis was strongly conservative, especially on social issues.

Rep. Davis (left) (R-VA) joined Reps. Ben Cardin (at lectern) (D-MD) and Roscoe Bartlett (center) (R-MD) in calling for a study of homeland security needs of the National Capital region, including Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

During her tenure, Davis secured $169 million (after authorizing $229 million) for construction on the Navy's next-generation aircraft carrier, CVN-21, and $47 million for the removal of a portion of the James River Reserve Fleet, otherwise known as the Ghost Fleet. In 2002 she voted for the controversial resolution in favor of invading Iraq (formally the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002)[4]

In March 2001, the House passed Davis's first piece of legislation — HR 1015,[5] the SGLI Adjustment Act, which increased the amount of Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance paid to beneficiaries of members of the Armed Forces who died in the performance of their duty between November 1, 2000, and April 1, 2001. Davis also advocated tax cuts, and believed that the federal government must rein in growth and spending.[citation needed] She was the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Intelligence Policy.[citation needed]

Davis was endorsed by several groups, including the Virginia Sheriff’s Association; the Peninsula Housing and Builders Association; the Virginia Society for Human Life; the National Rifle Association, and the Madison Project. She received a 93% rating from the National Federation of Independent Businesses for the 109th Congress,[6] a grade of 95% from the Family Foundation of Virginia, and an "A" rating from the NRA Virginia Political Preference Chart. Other ratings included a 0% from the National Education Association, a 23% from the League of Conservation Voters, a 0% from the Children's Defense Fund, and a 4% from the American Civil Liberties Union[1].

Personal life[edit]

Davis was born in Rowan County, North Carolina, but lived in Virginia starting when she was nine years old. She graduated from Kecoughtan High School in Hampton, Virginia. Davis was one of four Pentecostals in the 109th Congress. The others were Todd Tiahrt of Kansas, Tim Johnson of Illinois, and Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado.[7]

In 1974 she married Chuck Davis; the couple had two sons and were married for 33 years.

Davis was diagnosed in September 2005 with breast cancer and underwent a partial mastectomy on July 5, 2006, at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The pathology report indicated that there was no further evidence of cancer, and the Congresswoman stated that she would return to work as usual.[8] She attended House sessions until shortly before her death.[9]

Davis died on October 6, 2007, at her home in Gloucester, Virginia. She was reportedly recovering from a second bout with breast cancer, but her condition deteriorated rapidly over the week preceding her death. Jo Ann Davis is survived by her husband, Chuck Davis, two sons, and a granddaughter.[10]

Electoral history[edit]

Virginia's 1st congressional district: Results 2000–2006[11]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct Independent Votes Pct Independent Votes Pct
2000 Lawrence A. Davies 97,399 37% Jo Ann Davis 151,344 58% Sharon A. Wood 9,652 4% Josh Billings 4,082 2% *
2002 (no candidate) Jo Ann Davis 113,168 96% Write-ins 4,829 4%
2004 (no candidate) Jo Ann Davis 225,071 79% William A. Lee 57,434 20% Write-ins 4,029 1%
2006 Shawn M. O'Donnell 81,083 35% Jo Ann Davis 143,889 63% Marvin F. Pixton III 3,236 1% *
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2000, write-ins received 537 votes. In 2006, write-ins received 326 votes.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Virginia House of Delegates
Preceded by
Shirley F. Cooper
Virginia Delegate for the 74th District
1998–2001
Succeeded by
Melanie L. Rapp
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Herbert H. Bateman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 1st congressional district

2001–2007
Succeeded by
Rob Wittman