Davis Drops Bombshell, Decides Against Seeking Third Term as Elk Grove Mayor

July 13, 2016 |

Gary Davis dropped a bombshell on local politics yesterday when it was revealed that he would not seek a third term as Elk Grove's Mayor. Davis' decision was first reported in an interview with the Elk Grove Citizen.

In a story by Citizen reporter Lance Armstrong, Davis said that he wants to spend more time with his three children and wife Heather Davis, was recently elected to the Sacramento County Office of Education Board of Directors. In that interview, Davis said he made his decision in large part following a recent vacation with his family.

Davis was first elected to the Elk Grove City Council in 2006 when he defeated incumbent, and one of the original city council members, Dan Briggs. In what was most expensive election cycle in the city's 16-year history, Davis' victory was fueled by over $200,000 in donations and independent expenditures.

Following an easy reelection in 2010, Davis became Elk Grove's first directly elected mayor in 2012 and was unopposed in 2014. Unlike city council members four-year terms, the mayor is elected for a two-year term.

Davis said it has been an honor to serve Elk Grove residents for the last 10 years and reiterated his oft-spoken optimism saying the "the future of our great city remains bright." 

"Over the past decade we turned the City of Elk Grove around - primarily by empowering our residents. It is the people that make Elk Grove such an amazing community and I have been privileged to serve as Mayor," he said. "I also believe elected officials should treat public service like a relay race. I have run hard and fast for 10 years and it is now time to pass the baton to someone with fresh legs."

This year Davis would have faced at least two opponents, Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Kevin Spease and Joel Broussard. Both candidates said with Davis' exit from the race, they will not substantially change their respective strategies.

"We've said from day one that our goal is to serve this community, also to ensure that the voices of the people of Elk Grove are heard and that it is our desire that their agendas are pushed first," Broussard said. "Listening just isn't enough, it's time for the citizens of Elk Grove to be heard."

Broussard thanked Davis for his 10-years of service to the City and added,"Although we may not agree on all issues, it is clear that we both desire to see improvement in the community that we call home." 

He also said, "We are truly excited about what lies ahead and gladly welcome Gary's assistance should he desire to utilize his vast experience to collaborate and partner together with us."

Like Broussard, Spease said his campaign strategy would not change in light of Davis' decision.  Spease noted, "I wasn't running 'against Gary,' I am running for Elk Grove."

Spease said he would continue to focus on nuts-and-bolts type issues in his campaign. 

"I'm running to get things done that help citizens in their everyday life - fixing roads, keeping neighborhoods safe, helping businesses grow and create jobs," he said. "I want to work on setting real goals for our city rather than costly pipe dreams that get headlines but never get completed, or really ever started."

Spease, who was appointed by Davis to the Planning Commission, also said, "I wish Gary well in whatever he decides to do."   

In addition to Spease and Broussard, there is another person who has told EGN prior to Davis' announcement that they are strongly considering entering the race. Vice Mayor Steve Ly, who does not face reelection for his seat until 2018 and has reportedly been actively fundraising, will reportedly enter the race as soon as this Friday sources have told EGN.  

On a related note, a city hall source who asked not to be identified told EGN that at tonight's City Council meeting a discussion on changing the mayoral term from two to four years will be presented. If the city council agrees to consider that, the matter would be brought back at the July 27 meeting.

At the July 27 meeting, the City Council is also expected to consider a proposition seeking voter approval for a one-half cent sales tax increase. If the City Council decides to consider changing the Mayor's term to four years, it would require voter approval, and if reviewed and approved by the Council at that meeting, it could make it appear on the November ballot.

On the announcement of the Mayor's decision,  Region Business' Executive Director Joshua Woods praised Davis' tenure on the Council, and as Mayor and noted, he was instrumental in creating a more favorable business environment. With Davis' assistance, Region Business, an influential policy advocacy group in California, was able to help Elk Grove become the first city in the region to adopt the so-called one day permit simplicity program

"It's hard to see Gary leave, he is an amazing Mayor who led Elk Grove into being the best run, pro-business, visionary city in the region," Woods said. "His leadership will be irreplaceable in every way, and Elk Grove residents were blessed to have him at the helm."

Woods said that Davis set a high standard by which every future mayor will be compared and that Region Business "will be looking for another Gary Davis to continue his aggressive vision for Elk Grove."

"Just like every Sacramento Mayor is judged by how they measure up to Joe Serna, every future Elk Grove Mayor will be judged by how they measure up to Gary Davis," he added. 


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