Dev Davis is proud of her first four years representing San Jose’s District 6 on the City Council, but says there’s more work to do as she defends her seat from three challengers.
The 41-year-old Marvel enthusiast, mother of two and Stanford University graduate said she initially ran because she wanted to bring back lost services and amenities for families as Silicon Valley recovered from the Great Recession.
“That was really what got me interested in local politics,” Davis said. “It was just making sure that those services could be restored and, to the extent possible, expanded for families to be able to have a good quality of life here.”
In her first term, city libraries have expanded their hours and she’s supported new parks and trails in her district, which she said are now “much better maintained” than in the past. San Jose’s police force has also grown during her term, marking an important achievement, Davis said.
New term, new priorities
If elected to a second term, Davis says she will focus on public safety, including ensuring the completion of the district’s Fire Station 37, equipping all fire engines with chest compression devices and making sure San Jose is ready for a disaster.
“It’s not something that happens every day and it’s not something that people think a lot about, but it makes such a big difference in the moment,” she said. “We know that where we live on the nexus of multiple fault lines, that disaster is not an ‘if’ scenario, it’s always a ‘when’ scenario.”
She’s supportive of Mayor Sam Liccardo’s goal to build 25,000 new homes in the city by 2022, repaving all neighborhood streets by 2028, expanding Caltrain service and she’s proposed a ban on gas leaf blowers as part of her environmental platform, which has caught the eye of local environmental advocates.
“We had not the slightest problem endorsing Dev,” Terry Trumbull, co-founder and endorsement chair of the Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters, said in an interview this week. “She has done a good job on the council from our perspective, and there wasn’t anybody with the kind of credentials that she has.”
The 15-member board interviewed Davis last year before offering its endorsement, and the group has been especially happy with her support to preserve Coyote Valley, Trumbull said.
But Davis said her top priority is homelessness, similar to so many others in the community. That’s part of the reason she nabbed the endorsement of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors, said Neil Collins, CEO of the organization.
“We appreciate everything she has done to promote accessory dwelling units, lowering regulations and everything with lowering fees for housing,” he said. “She understands supply and demand, and that if we don’t increase our supply, affordable housing is going to continue to be out of people’s reach.”
According to recent financial disclosures, Davis has raised more than $138,000 for her campaign.
Touting her experience
Davis was elected in 2016 with nearly 54 percent of the vote. Today, she’s running against three challengers: biomedical engineer Jake Tonkel, tech sales worker Ruben Navarro and transportation and environmental advocate Marshall Woodmansee.
What sets Davis most apart from the other contenders is her experience, she said.
“I’ve been doing the job for three years, I went to school specifically for public policy and I have a research background,” Davis said. “I know how to analyze data and make decisions based on the best information.”
Collins said he appreciates Davis’ ability to analyze data and her “fiscally conservative” approach to city spending.
“She is fiercely independent and she is not afraid to be on the losing side of the vote,” he said. “She is going to vote her conscience and not worry about not being part of the consensus.”
Name: Devora “Dev” Davis
Family: Married, 2 kids, 2 dogs
Political affiliation: None (nonpartisan)
Education: Master’s degrees in public policy and education policy, organization, and leadership from Stanford University
Profession: San Jose City Councilmember, District 6; previously education researcher)
Current or previous elected or appointed positions: City Council District 6, Early Care and Education Commission chair
Top 3 priorities: Homelessness, public safety, road repairs
Top 3 endorsements: BAYMEC, League of Conservation Voters, Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association
Special talent: Data analysis
In one sentence, why vote for you? “I’ve worked hard and accomplished a lot in my first term, and there is more to finish in the next four years (my final term).”