Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 1996, 9th term.

Born: September 6, 1941, Parkdale, AR

Home: Chicago, IL

Education: AR AM&N Col., B.A. 1961, Chicago St. U., M.S. 1968, Union Inst., Ph.D. 1977

Professional Career: Teacher, Chicago Public Schls., 1962–69; Health Care Planner, 1969–79.

Ethnicity: Black/African American

Religion: Baptist

Family: Married (Vera G. Davis) , 2 children

Danny Davis, a Democrat first elected in 1996, is a liberal who is eager for political advancement. He has waged two unsuccessful campaigns for Chicago mayor and twice flirted with running for president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. He also sought to fill the Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama’s election before changing his mind.

Davis grew up on a cotton farm in Arkansas, graduated from college in that state, then moved to Chicago and worked as a teacher, assistant principal, and guidance counselor in Chicago public schools. For 10 years, he ran a community health project on the West Side. He was elected alderman in the 29th Ward in 1979, and supported Mayor Harold Washington, the city’s first black mayor, in his notorious 1980s battles with white machine aldermen dubbed the “Council Wars.” In 1990, Davis was elected a Cook County commissioner.

In 1996, when Democratic Rep. Cardiss Collins retired after nearly 24 years in the House, Davis decided to run for the seat. His major opponents were 3rd Ward Alderman Dorothy Tillman, an ally of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, and 28th Ward Alderman Ed Smith. Daviscampaigned as a big government liberal, calling for a $7.60 minimum wage, affirmative action programs, and a nationalized health care plan. Davis won with 33%. He went on to win the general election with ease and has not faced a serious challenge since. However, he lost his 29th Ward committeeman post to a Daley-backed challenger in 2000.

In the House, Davis has a liberal voting record. He said in December 2012 that he planned to push for tax incentives for businesses that create jobs in inner-city communities and distressed rural areas. He has opposed income tax cuts, even when advocated by Democratic President Bill Clinton. On the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he was a champion of organized labor as he worked with a bipartisan coalition that in 2006 enacted major changes in the Postal Service. He criticized a new Postal Service overhaul bill that passed the committee in September 2011, calling it “a glass half-empty approach that creates new bureaucracies, diminished congressional oversight, and continues to attack the worker rights of postal employees.”

His devotion to issues affecting the poor has won him respect even among Republicans. With his wife, Vera Davis, Davis in the mid-2000s supported a local program to increase the low share of black home ownership in his district by offering credit counseling and innovative forms of mortgage financing. With the view that everybody deserves a second chance, Davis has taken a deep interest in the problems of former convicts seeking to transition to the mainstream. He teamed with then-Rep. Mark Souder, a conservative Republican from Indiana, on a bill creating tax credits to encourage transitional housing and job training for former prisoners. It evolved into his Second Chance Act, which President George W. Bush signed into law in 2008. He offered an amendment in May 2012 to increase Second Chance program funding by $10 million, but it failed overwhelmingly in a floor vote.

In 2006, Davis sought to become Cook County Board president when incumbent John Stroger suffered a serious stroke. But Democratic committeemen overwhelmingly supported Stroger’s son, Todd, for the nomination. After the 2008 election, Davis campaigned publicly to win the support of Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Obama. Blagojevich called Davis his top choice, but Davis turned down what was bound to be viewed as a tainted appointment after Blagojevich was charged with trying to gain politically and personally from his power to make the appointment.

As a consolation prize, the Democratic House leadership gave Davis a seat on the Ways and Means Committee. He was an outspoken defender of the committee’s chairman, black New York Democrat Charles B. Rangel, during Rangel’s ethics scandal, and called the health care overhaul “good for black America.” Davis lost his seat on Ways and Means when Republicans took control of the House in 2011, but regained it in 2013.

In 2009, Davis weighed another bid for the Cook County board but ultimately did not run. After Daley announced in 2010 he would not seek reelection as mayor, Davis jumped into the race, collecting endorsements from 15 African-American aldermen. But with pressure mounting to settle on a single black candidate in early January, he endorsed former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, who had stressed her fundraising advantage over Davis. She eventually lost to former Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who is white.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5006

(202) 225-5641

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2159
Washington, DC 20515-1307

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5006

(202) 225-5641

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2159
Washington, DC 20515-1307

DISTRICT OFFICE

(773) 533-7520

(773) 533-7530

2746 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60612-2040

DISTRICT OFFICE

(773) 533-7520

(773) 533-7530

2746 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60612-2040

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

5956 West Race Avenue
Chicago, IL 60644

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

5956 West Race Avenue
Chicago, IL 60644

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Acquisitions

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Aerospace

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Agriculture

Lavell Brown
Senior Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Banking

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Budget

Yul Edwards
Chief of Staff

Campaign

Yul Edwards
Chief of Staff

Commerce

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Economics

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Education

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Energy

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Lavell Brown
Senior Legislative Assistant

Environment

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Lavell Brown
Senior Legislative Assistant

Family

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Finance

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Foreign

Joseph Peters
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Govt Ops

Yul Edwards
Chief of Staff

Lavell Brown
Senior Legislative Assistant

Joseph Peters
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Health

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Homeland Security

Joseph Peters
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Joseph Peters
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Joseph Peters
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Internet

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Jenell Brown
Office Manager; Scheduler

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Judiciary

Lavell Brown
Senior Legislative Assistant

Labor

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Lavell Brown
Senior Legislative Assistant

Medicare

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Military

Yul Edwards
Chief of Staff

Joseph Peters
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Minorities

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Public Works

Yul Edwards
Chief of Staff

Recreation

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Science

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Seniors

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Social Security

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Tax

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Ryan McNeil
Tax Fellow

Technology

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Telecommunications

Jenell Brown
Office Manager; Scheduler

Trade

Caleb Gilchrist
Senior Policy Advisor; Deputy Chief of Staff

Transportation

Yul Edwards
Chief of Staff

Lavell Brown
Senior Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Yul Edwards
Chief of Staff

Joseph Peters
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant

Welfare

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Women

Jill Hunter-Williams
Legislative Director

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Danny Davis
Votes: 242,439
Percent: 84.64%
Rita Zak
Votes: 31,466
Percent: 10.99%
2012 PRIMARY
Danny Davis
Votes: 57,896
Percent: 84.48%
Jacques Conway
Votes: 10,638
Percent: 15.52%
2010 GENERAL
Danny Davis
Votes: 149,846
Percent: 81.5%
Mark Weiman
Votes: 29,575
Percent: 16.09%
2010 PRIMARY
Danny Davis
Votes: 52,728
Percent: 66.77%
Sharon Dixon
Votes: 10,851
Percent: 13.74%
Darlena Williams-Burnett
Votes: 10,173
Percent: 12.88%
Jim Ascot
Votes: 5,221
Percent: 6.61%
2008 GENERAL
Danny Davis
Votes: 235,343
Percent: 85.02%
Steve Miller
Votes: 41,474
Percent: 14.98%
2008 PRIMARY
Danny Davis
Votes: 129,865
Percent: 91.14%
Robert Dallas
Votes: 12,629
Percent: 8.86%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (82%), 2008 (85%), 2006 (87%), 2004 (86%), 2002 (83%), 2000 (86%), 1998 (93%), 1996 (83%)

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