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Big win Nov. 6 suprised Davis
By Pat Andrews
posted Nov 7, 2012 - 7:07:34pm
Who is Jason Davis, the man who just won the county-chair job, Volusia County's highest elected office?
If few people on the west side of Volusia County knew the Edgewater resident when he entered the countywide race in May, it's possible that few on the east side knew him, either.
But enough people got to know enough about Davis during the campaign to give him 55.39 percent of the vote, a comfortable margin over Carl Persis' 44.61 percent in the general election.
How did it happen?
During the first week of January, Davis will take the most visible elected seat in the county; arguably, the one with the most power.
He talks proudly of his Army experience. Davis quickly pointed out he's not just a Gulf War veteran, but was decorated for his leadership.
He has less to say about his personal life. And, Davis said he plans to keep a personal life after he takes office. When he's at home, he'll be at home.
(We replied, "Good luck with that.")
Davis was born in Apopka in 1962, the middle child of James and Joyce Davis. His father traveled the state selling optical goods. His mother was in banking, rising from teller to management before her retirement.
Davis grew up Methodist. Now, he attends a Methodist church occasionally, or sometimes Lutheran or other denomination.
Davis' father has passed away, and his mother remarried and is now Joyce Oxley. She lives in Port Orange, and has been his biggest campaign booster, Davis said.
"I tell you what, you will not find a more proud parent of a child. She's one of my biggest cheerleaders, and a very active member of the Port Orange YMCA," Davis said.
He visited the YMCA with her Nov. 7, the day after the election, to thank everyone there who supported him in the race.
His parents gave him the basics of his personality and drive, Davis said, but it was his U.S. Army experience that trained him to succeed. He calls it "an internal thing," an "internal force" that is powerful.
Davis joined the Army in 1980, after he graduated from high school, and served in the Military Police Corps. In 1986, he transferred to the infantry. He trained in military-police and combat operations, and took a course in leadership development.
His trainers, Davis said, asked, "Do you want to be a success? Do you want to be able to take care of your family?" His answer was "Yes."
Davis got married during his military service, in 1983. Now divorced, he has a daughter, Jessica, who was born in 1984, and a granddaughter who was born in 1999.
Davis served in Iraq, where he won a Bronze Star for Valor for defending his men against an Iraqi flanking movement.
After his Army service, Davis returned to Apopka and went to work managing an auto-parts store.
Tired of working for someone else, Davis opened his own computer store. He founded his own company, CIB Enterprises, for computer tech work, a Davis specialty. The company is currently inactive.
He moved to Volusia County to take a job managing a cable-contracting company that did work for Bright House Communications.
"I saw Volusia County, and I liked it," Davis said.
He moved to Osteen, then Edgewater, where he went to work for WSBB radio station in New Smyrna Beach as a producer and on-air host.
Davis is not currently married. He does have a "significant other," Sherry Purdy, who's an occupational therapist. She served as his campaign treasurer.
Davis said he doesn't know if marriage is in the future — he indicated that will be up to Purdy.
The issues of taxes and county spending inspired Davis to run for office.
His goal is to reduce taxes, partly by finding ways to increase county revenues without increasing the property-tax burden.
Was he prepared to win?
Yes, he said, but it was a shock. On Nov. 7, Davis said he is still getting used to the idea of being county chair.
He thought the race against Carl Persis would be a lot closer, but his numbers edged up as results came in.
"Then, around 10 o'clock, my opponent called me and congratulated me," Davis said.
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