The youthful 42-year-old bounded up the steps to Rowe’s Restaurant with a big smile on his face as he extended an outstretched hand. Delegate Glenn Davis was in the house and we were about to sit down to talk about 2017 and his campaign for lieutenant governor.
He had caught my attention during the Republican State Convention held in Harrisonburg in April after announcing in March that he would seek the Republican nomination for LG. I did a little research and liked what I found.
When we met this week in Staunton, to say we had a good discussion was an understatement because it was an easy conversation, a back-and-forth about all the issues that are on the plate of Virginia citizens, and a chance to find out more about this candidate.
So who is Glenn Davis, besides being a ball of energy?
Currently representing the 84th House District in the Virginia Beach area as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, he had discovered his passion for politics in college, putting his debate skills to use while an active member of the College Republicans.
His instinct for business began with his first venture as a telecom provider in his one-bedroom apartment, and was recognized in 2007 by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing IT companies in America. A humble man, Davis didn’t talk about that early achievement but I discovered it while researching him.
That and other business successes over the years offered the opportunity to pursue public office which provided a legislative path to implementing some of his ideas and solutions through governing. His genuine enthusiasm shows as he talks about what he has been able to achieve during his short time in the legislature.
After his time working as a legislative aide in the General Assembly in the 1990s, he was elected to the Virginia Beach City Council and then, in 2013, he ran for the House of Delegates and is currently in his second term.
Something else I discovered while researching was his work in the community where he has been active in his desire to give back. Two of those interests have seen him serving as a board member of a public charter school, and providing leadership as chairman and classroom volunteer for Junior Achievement, that organization that works with businesses to teach students in K-12 entrepreneurship along with financial and workforce skills.
What would Glenn Davis offer in elected office at the state level? More than anything he feels that his biggest contribution as lieutenant governor would be finding ways to provide jobs for Virginians who are out of work. “I’m running because too many Virginians are unemployed, under employed or stuck in part time jobs desperate for full time work,” he said in March.
Indeed, he has a record of providing employment opportunities in the private sector. As a telecommunications management entrepreneur and business owner, he talks business with the knowledge and enthusiasm of a chef talking food. He is very much a solutions-oriented legislator who wants to see employers not only survive but thrive right here in Virginia.
Glenn would like to see it back at number one, and has a plan. He has what he describes as a Virginia turnaround plan that highlights four points: modernize education, grow entrepreneurism, recruit 21st century jobs, and tax reform.
As we talked, the smile on Davis’ face widened and his speech picked up as he dove into the economy, jobs, and issues he had tackled immediately after arriving in the General Assembly. You get the idea that his brain is constantly clicked on go, and thoughts and ideas come out in a rush of words. In my brief encounter with him, I had the feeling he does not give up, and is constantly thinking ahead while looking at and analyzing an issue from all angles, perhaps thinking outside the box when others travel the traditional path.
Once the newly-elected delegate arrived in Richmond, it didn’t take long for businesses to recognize his get-it-done attitude and so in 2014 he was named the Virginia Chamber of Commerce freshman lawmaker of the year. He had proven his business skills, experiences, and ideas were not only helpful but valuable and sought after, and word spread.
Recognized for his leadership in providing private sector job growth, the Chamber commented on the achievement by noting, “There is no mistaking the voting record and leadership exhibited by Delegate Glenn Davis. As a small businessman and entrepreneur, Delegate Davis understands the needs of businesses.”
The next year the Chamber recognized Davis again when he was presented the Economic Competitiveness Award we well as the Small Business Advocate Award “for his legislation that protected small businesses from costly mandates and helping entrepreneurs attract equity investments.”
Besides his business interests, he is a strong advocate of the Second Amendment — the NRA endorsed his 2015 reelection — and believes in less government interference and personal responsibility. Somewhere along the way he found time to attend the Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. During the presidential primaries, he served as Ohio Governor John Kasich’s Virginia co-chair.
If his travel agenda is any indication, Davis’ intention is to meet every citizen in Virginia as he relentlessly traverses the Commonwealth in his RV with the “Glen Davis for Lieutenant Governor” graphics on the side. It is his traveling office, home-away-from-home, and gathering spot for his campaigners including a retired truck driver who safely steers them while navigating the highways and byways.
One more thing. His website notes that “Glenn and his companies subscribe to the ‘double bottom line’ theory, where success is measured not only by a company’s net profit, but by another bottom line measuring a company’s positive impact on the community it serves.”
Glenn Davis has proven to be a leader who doesn’t wait for others to solve problems. One thing is for sure. If he wins in 2017, he will need to brush up on his parliamentary procedure since his time during session will be spent presiding over the state senate. Something tells me this go-getter is up to the challenge.