Saturday, October 6, 2007

Rest In Peace 1st District US Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis, Dies at 57

by Ellen Biltz
The Free Lance-Star Newspaper

She had been undergoing treatment, and recent tests had positive results, according to a press release from her staff, but in the last week she took a turn for the worse.

"Davis was known as a strong supporter of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and as a supporter of military facilities in her 1st Congressional District," said her spokesman Chris Connelly.

He mentioned the Naval Support Facility at Dahlgren and the Quantico Marine Corps Base specifically.

The 1st District includes Fredericksburg; all or part of Spotsylvania, Stafford, Fauquier, King George and Caroline counties; the Northern Neck and the Middle Peninsula.

Davis was Virginia’s first female Republican in Congress and had served for seven years.

Before she entered politics, she was in real estate. She started Davis Management Co. in 1988 and Jo Ann Davis Realty in 1990.

In 1997, she entered the General Assembly, representing York County in the House of Delegates.

She won her first term in Congress in 2000, after Republican Rep. Herb Bateman retired for health reasons. Bateman died soon after retiring.

In the House of Representatives, Davis was on the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees. Much of the work she did revolved around the military and federal employees.

She was proud of legislation that increased service members’ life insurance and a measure that changed calculation of federal employees’ retirement.

Reactions to the death of U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis, R-1st, who died Saturday at her home in Gloucester after a two-year battle with breast cancer:

"Her determination to fight the disease is an inspiration to all of us. Over the course of her four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, she was an effective advocate for the people of her district and a strong supporter of our men and women in uniform. She was a fine example of a public servant who worked hard to cut government waste to ensure the people's money was used wisely. Her common sense values will be missed on Capitol Hill."
—President George Bush

"I always admired Congresswoman Davis' strong convictions and the tenacity that she brought to bear in acting on them. We shared a warm friendship built around a mutual enjoyment of equestrian sports."
—U.S. Senator John W. Warner, R-VA

"Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis made history when she became the first female Republican elected to the House of Representatives from the commonwealth in 2000. She inspired Virginians as she battled breast cancer while continuing to serve the commonwealth."
—VA Governor Timothy M. Kaine

"She was a dependable conservative voice on the challenges of our time, but I believe that her greatest contribution was the devoted manner in which she attended to the affairs of her district and the constituents she served."
—Lt. Governor Bill Bolling

"When her career took her to Washington, the entire commonwealth, and the country, benefited. She was a leader of integrity, common sense, and decency. ...In a city where so many seek the bright lights of national publicity over the hard work of effective governing, Jo Ann always focused on the latter."
—Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell

"She was a good friend and a tireless advocate for America's First District, as both she and Herb Bateman referred to the 1st Congressional District of Virginia. While we had different political loyalties, we had no differences in our efforts to work together for the Hampton Roads area and especially the shipping and defense industries."
—U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, D-3rd

"It is fitting that the month of October is dedicated to raising breast cancer awareness. Even as she battled through her own personal adversity, Jo Ann saw her illness as an opportunity to help others and raise awareness for this disease. Her efforts will live on through the lives that she touched."
—U.S. Rep. Thelma Drake, R-2nd

"Virginia has lost a passionate advocate for better government, and her legacy as a defender of conservative principles will always be remembered."
—John Hager, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia

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