Artur Davis officially joins Montgomery mayoral race
Former Congressman Artur Davis (AL-7) on Tuesday joined Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean as the only officially announced candidates to be the capital city’s next mayor, as several potential contenders continue to mull entering the fray.
While Artur Davis first confirmed his would-be candidacy for mayor in an exclusive interview with Yellowhammer News in October, he has now made his official announcement through his first campaign video. The election will be held in August.
In the video, Davis echoes what he told Yellowhammer News, saying that he will emphasize his own roots growing up in Montgomery’s public education system and his commitment to reviving a local school system that includes 12 failing schools and has been the subject of an emergency state intervention.
“I know what the Montgomery school system used to be capable of achieving: I used an education at traditional schools like Jeff Davis High and Dannelly as a springboard to win awards at Harvard and become a congressman by age 35,” Davis outlines. “As Mayor, I will have one major mission: to build a community wide coalition of our new school board, teachers, parents and businesses that will return Montgomery public schools to being a foundation to succeed anywhere in America.”
Davis, who finished second in a five-candidate field in the city’s 2015 mayoral race, was born and raised in Montgomery. He has spent 35 years of his life in the city, including starting his prominent career as a federal prosecutor in the Middle District of Alabama.
In the video, Davis stresses that his firsthand experience fighting crime will guide his approach to making Montgomery safer.
He says, “I learned as a prosecutor that there are two kinds of criminal offenders: first, the ones devoted to wrecking their own communities and who have no respect for their own neighbors. To take them on, we need to commit to a larger police force and an aggressive plan to confront gang violence and the rise in gun and property crimes. But there are also people in the criminal justice system whose lives can be turned around. I want Montgomery to become known as a model for finding work and dignity for ex-offenders who want rehabilitation.”
Davis served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat from 2003-2011. He ran unsuccessfully to be the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2010, after which he switched parties and became a Republican. He supported Republican nominee Mitt Romney against President Barack Obama in 2012, delivering a keynote speech at the Republican National Convention. He has since rejoined the Democratic Party.
Since 2015, Davis has served as the executive director of the state’s civil legal aid program and as a national policy consultant on issues including barriers to occupational licensing and criminal justice reform. He has been married for ten years to Tara Johnson Davis, who currently serves as a nonprofit executive running two homeless shelters in Alabama’s capital city.
In addition to Davis and Dean being in the mayoral race, Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed, local attorney J C Love and WCOV television station owner David Woods are believed to be seriously considering running.
As the probate judge, Reed oversees the city’s municipal elections, which would include the 2019 mayoral race. Because of this, Davis believes that Reed should recuse himself from this role if he chooses to run for mayor himself.
Davis told Yellowhammer News, “As great as Nick Saban is, he doesn’t get to referee the games he plays in. And that’s really what this comes down to here.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn