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Love for Arizona drives campaign

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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It's understood that Chip Davis' roots in Yavapai County run deep — his ranching family has been here for nearly 140 years.

And the strength of his connection to the community is evidenced in part by the dozens of plaques that fill the walls of his office, from the reception area to his inner sanctum — tokens of appreciation from the many groups he has worked with over his two decades as Yavapai County supervisor. His favorites, he said, are two simple, handmade gifts from clients of YES the Arc, a Cottonwood agency that serves those with developmental disabilities.

As Davis contemplated a run for the state legislature early this year, he turned to his strength — his family — for advice. But it was more than just a political decision.

When his children, parents and wife Karen discussed the matter, it was with the knowledge that Karen had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

However, they agreed as a family to push forward.

"The question was, do I still have something to offer?" he said. "They think I do. I think I do.

"Yavapai County has been good to my family. If my way to give back is to be a voice for rural Arizona, then that's what I want to do.

"Everyone has their duty to do. I asked myself, at 56, am I really ready to hang up my spurs or do I have something more to give? I do."

Doctors subsequently told the Davis family that the cancer hadn't spread to Karen's lymph nodes and just recently they declared her to be cancer free, he said.

With that burden lifted, Davis is set to intensify his campaign to become the state representative for District 1.

The decision to run wasn't exactly a bolt from the blue. Davis announced in May 2012 that if he were reelected to his fifth term on the Board of Supervisors it would be his last, but he said he still had the desire for public service, including the possibility of the state legislature.

"I'd like to bring a little civility to the body," Davis said at the time.

In an interview last week, he reinforced that idea, talking about how it pains him that the state legislature is the object of ridicule nationally. "It's so freaking partisan down there and it's never going to fix itself."

Davis, a Republican, said he would like to see legislators understand both sides of the issues, and hopefully engage in positive and effective dialogue — "sound thinking with a centrist point of view."

"I wonder how I'm going to survive down there," he said with a chuckle. "There's a lot of different values, ethics... and trying to convince 89 other people what you're trying to accomplish is good."

He said he is frustrated by the national image of Arizona, when in fact the reality of the state is that "people come here to live and visit because of its Western character, the beautiful country, the sunrises and sunsets. Arizonans have been a good and courageous people.

"It sounds cliche, but I love Arizona This our place This our home. This is our state."

The opportunity to take his message to the state capitol arose when incumbent Rep. Karen Fann [R-Prescott] announced that she would be running for the District 1 State Senate seat to be vacated by current Sen. Steve Pierce [R-Prescott].

Legislative District 1 encompasses most of Yavapai County, parts of Coconino County, and also includes New River, Anthem, Cave Creek and portions of Carefree in Maricopa.

One challenge for Davis, however, is what the district doesn't encompass — the areas in Yavapai where he's been serving as county supervisor for two decades.

He pulled out a district map to show that his home — along with a handful of others — is barely inside District 1, just across the line from a huge bloc of voters that would likely cast ballots for their favorite son.

"No, the seat is not guaranteed," he said.

A key aspect of his campaign will be to introduce himself to voters outside of the Verde Valley.

"I've got to get to know people on the other side of Mingus," he said. "I want them know I have a sound decision-making process. I want them to get to know me a little bit so they feel that they can come to me with their problems. That's why I announced so early [about a year ahead of the election in August 2016]. I wanted to get an early start because the district is so huge and it hasn't been my stomping grounds."

He wanted to hit that ground running and show that his was a "legitimate campaign." His team had a website in place, introducing him, offering the opportunity to register to vote, volunteer to help with the effort and contribute to the campaign.

He also established and posted the issues he considers important. Since then, he and his staff have been researching those issues and "coming up with sensible issue statements." The work continues and can be found on

"It was a little more daunting than I anticipated — so many different ideas about transportation, water, education and improving efficiency of government... and so many more."

As he moves forward, though, he said his time serving the Verde Valley has been precious to him. "I've loved my job."

When pressed, he said the best part of that job was that, "Someone can come to me with a problem today. I make a call. Tomorrow, the problem is solved. It's a lot different than wading through government bureaucracy, the legislative process where they identify a problem, form a subcommittee, forward the findings to a committee, get it out on the floor. I want to improve efficiency, reduce redundancies. In Yavapai, we've worked to minimize the bureaucracy, emphasize to our staff that we're here to help people. That's what I want to take to the legislature."

Asked how long he'd stick with it if he is elected to the legislature, he replied, "As long as I'm effective. When I'm not, I'll go home and chase cows."

"1 asked myself, at 56, am I really ready to hang up my spurs or do 1 have something more to give? I do."

Chip Davis

Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor and Candidate for Arizona State Legislature District 1

Copyright 2015 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: October 7, 2015

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