Rep. Susan Davis (D)
Elected: 2000, 5th term.
Born: April 13, 1944, Cambridge, MA .
Home: San Diego.
Education: U. of CA, B.A. 1964, U. of NC, M.A. 1968.
Family: Married (Steven); 2 children.
Elected office: San Diego School Bd., 1983-92; CA Assembly, 1994-2000.
Professional Career: Devel. assoc., KPBS Radio, 1980-82.; Exec. dir., Aaron Price Fellows, 1990-94.
The congresswoman from the 53rd District is Susan Davis, a Democrat first elected in 2000. She grew up in Richmond, Calif., the daughter of a pediatrician. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and got a degree in social work at the University of North Carolina. After she married, she and her husband lived for a time in Japan while he served as an Air Force doctor during the Vietnam War. In 1972, they moved to San Diego. She was a producer for a local television station while also volunteering in civic groups, including as president of the local League of Women Voters. In 1983, she was elected to the San Diego school board. In 1994, she won the first of three terms in the California Assembly, where she chaired the Consumer Protection Committee. Facing term limits, Davis in 2000 challenged U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray, a Republican who had won three close elections. She portrayed him as too conservative for the district, though he took liberal and moderate positions on abortion rights and environment protection. But Bilbray had voted with conservatives to impeach President Clinton in 1998, and Davis attacked him as well for supporting bills that would deny citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. The AFL-CIO ran so much advertising on her behalf that Davis requested it stop. Davis won 50%-46%, and has been re-elected easily. Bilbray returned to Congress in June 2006 when he won a special election in the neighboring 50th District.
|Susan Davis (D)||161,315||(68%)||($455,081)|
|Michael Crimmins (R)||64,658||(27%)||($23,617)|
|Edward Teyssier (Lib)||9,569||(4%)|
|Susan Davis (D)||43,171||(88%)|
|Mike Copass (D)||6,113||(12%)|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (68%), 2004 (66%), 2002 (62%), 2000 (50%)
In the House, Davis has a liberal voting record but tends to be more centrist on foreign policy. Assigned to the Armed Services and Education and Labor committees, she set herself priorities that have included higher military pay, increased aid for school districts with a large military presence, increased student loans, and incentives for better teachers. She angered organized labor and some Democratic activists by voting to give President George W. Bush wide authority to negotiate international trade deals, which labor unions opposed. She called the vote “agonizing,” but one that served the interests of a city that has been built on trade. Organized labor rescinded its endorsement of her. In 2005, Davis went in a different direction on trade by voting against the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
On Armed Services, she voted against the use of force in Iraq in 2002 and against Bush’s troop “surge” strategy in 2007, but Davis stopped short of cutting off funding for the war, which some Democrats advocated. In 2005, she criticized committee Republicans for seeking to limit women from service in combat units in Iraq. She also sponsored a bill to prevent interest from accruing on student loans held by military personnel while they are serving combat tours. And, with Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., Davis won House passage of a bill to increase the maximum loan amount that the Veterans Administration approves for home mortgages.
Davis also serves on the House Administration Committee, where she proposed allowing universal vote by mail in federal elections. On a major regional controversy, she won enactment in 2007 of a measure that had the effect of killing a proposed Foothill South toll road that would have crossed a coastal nature preserve in southern Orange County.