VIRGINIA BEACH – State Del. Glenn Davis, R-84th District, is shifting gears to seek reelection to the General Assembly following his defeat in a primary to be the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor.
Davis came in third in the June primary, earning 17.2 percent of the vote, in the race won by state Sen. Jill Vogel, R-27th District.
In a recent interview, Davis said he was glad to have sought the nomination for lieutenant governor, and he added that the effort gave him a greater appreciation of issues outside the city and the Hampton Roads region. Davis spoke with The Independent News in late June at his office.
“I better understand the many unique opportunities and challenges localities face around the commonwealth,” Davis said. “Virginia Beach isn’t like Wise County, which isn’t Fairfax.”
Davis switched campaign materials on social media to reflect the race in the 84th House District. In the November general election, he faces a challenge from the Rev. Dr. Veronica Coleman, a Democrat and founder of New Jerusalem Ministries in Virginia Beach. She defeated fellow Democrat Erin Edlow in an unassembled caucus held in May.
During his run to be lieutenant governor, Davis traveled the state in an RV, spending a few days on the road each week, eventually logging 53,000 miles in a mobile office dubbed “Mellow Yellow” for its interior.
He witnessed the challenges faced by Virginians in the coal industry, which he has studied, along the way.
Davis said he was moved to meet people in communities such as Russell County in southwest Virginia, and he called them some of the “hardest working individuals you’re ever going to find.”
The Trump administration has sought to roll back environmental regulations to put miners back to work. As The Washington Post reported in March, some experts say such jobs are unlikely to return because shifts are “a function of a changing energy market” and the industry is perhaps a smaller sector of the American workforce smaller in practice than folks think.
The Post reported that in 2014, the most recent year for such numbers, the coal industry employed fewer than 77,000 people in the U.S. – and not all of those jobs were in mines.
Yet coal production has risen this year after a decline in 2016, according to The Associated Press.
“I think there’s a 21st Century coal economy built on new opportunities for coal, not just energy,” said Davis, who added that he has traveled on his own dime to meet with academics examining potential for uses of coal, such as a powdered replacement for silicon.
“The coal industry’s not dead,” he said. “It’s just not your father’s coal industry.”
Davis said he has also focused on advanced manufacturing opportunities, a natural fit for Virginia Beach, and he discussed his efforts to eliminate tax requirements helps add incentives for those who might do business here.
Getting a better understanding of transportation issues in Northern Virginia also brings perspective to issues – and potential roadblocks – in Virginia Beach.
With Democrats fielding candidates in a number of local legislative races this year, Davis said he was aware that candidates will try to tie incumbent Republicans in Virginia Beach to the Trump administration.
“A lot of things he’s said, I can’t defend,” Davis said, responding to a question about the tone of some of the president’s remarks. “At the same time, I’m grateful for some of things he’s done. … The Republican Party has never been a person. It’s been a set of ideas.”
Trump, as a businessperson, understands markets and believes in level playing fields, Davis said.
“I think he believes in market forces,” Davis said. “I think he believes in the government being out of people’s business. … If they want to run against Donald Trump, they can wait four years and run against him.”
Davis also said he has worked directly to foster technology education, create opportunities for veterans and to establish a charter school, with which he remains involved.
“I may represent a particular area of Virginia Beach, but I’m really here to help everyone,” he said.
Davis’ campaign for lieutenant governor may be over, but he hasn’t gotten rid of the RV just yet. The day he spoke with The Independent News, Mellow Yellow was parked in a nearby lot. He’s not sure what to do with it just yet.
“I kind of liked it,” he said.
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