Dev Davis finds his strategy to San Jose and needs to remain on as District 6 councilor

by Carly Wipf
5th October 2020

Councilor Dev Davis never introduced herself as a politician.

She came from hard-working families – the daughter of a school teacher and a truck driver who hauled agricultural equipment. At the age of 10, Davis got her own job delivering newspapers and didn’t know much about the world outside of her North Dakota home.

“I didn’t even know the ‘Road to San Jose’ if you will. I literally only knew the song (by Dionne Warwick),” she laughed. “I didn’t even know where it was.”

Davis said she loved reading and doing research. She peeled off the news with her morning breakfast and plunged headlong into politics and politics. As her parents were caring for other children, Davis saw firsthand how “the child system failed,” which led her to study economics at Stanford University and become an educational researcher.

She moved to the country’s tenth largest city in 2004 and watched how the great recession of 2008 affected life – including her own. She ran for city council in 2016 and felt a duty to her two children to ensure that they and other residents are protected in future times of economic downturn, she said.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic and a strained city budget, Davis, who is standing for re-election in District 6 against biomedical engineer Jake Tonkel, stands ready to continue the political work started over the past four years.

“I’ve made good connections within our district and within our community, and I think it’s really important to have leadership experience in these most uncertain times,” she said.

Davis has campaigned for COVID-19 relief programs like San Jose Al Fresco and has teamed up with Mayor Sam Liccardo to provide housing and support opportunities for the homeless in her district on Evans Lane.

Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed described Davis as a calm, analytical, and focused leader.

“There are many, many problems these days and she has managed to focus on her district, which I think is the most important role of a councilor,” Reed said.

If elected for another term, housing and public safety will continue to be a top priority for Davis.


“It’s really important for us to build more living space while protecting our family homes,” said Davis. “We want these opportunities to be available to everyone.”

Rich Waterman, former mayor of Campbell, said Davis shares his goals for creating – but also maintaining – homes in the county.

“She’s a big advocate of neighborhood protection,” Waterman said, citing the increasing number of developers looking to build large apartment complexes in Santa Clara County. “It is pushing for affordable living space, which I particularly like in the LGBTQ community, which, as a member of the LGBTQ community, I found very helpful in discussions.”

Davis recently voted for commercial connection fees that oblige commercial developers to contribute to affordable housing projects in the city. She has also voted to protect single-family homes and private property rights, and has received her praise from the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association.

“SVTA is committed to consumer and tax transparency and believes Dev Davis supports everyday residents against stakeholders who are consistently committed to tax increases,” said Pierluigi Oliverio, SVTA board member and former councilor for the 6th District.

She also voted for tiny home projects and the withdrawal of regulations for residential units. Davis said her proudest milestone in housing was an initiative she worked with Liccardo on to expedite the city’s process of building affordable homes.

public safety

In a recent San Jose spotlight panel, Davis called for a greater police presence in the city. Since taking office, 300 new officers have been added to the city’s police force.

Davis said she wants to make sure police lawyers are not undercut by calls for police relief and supports expanding the powers of the independent police inspector to encourage greater accountability in the San Jose Police Department.

Councilor Johnny Khamis endorses Davis for re-election because of her love of statistics and her ability to “reconcile both sides of a problem,” especially one as divisive as police reform.

“She’s the most analytical person on the city council,” said Khamis. “She doesn’t just listen to the vocal minority. She weighs the issues and makes her decisions based on facts.”

Davis also wants to see the completion of 37 Fire Station on Lincoln Avenue and the addition of LUCAS chest compression devices for all fire trucks – a process it began three years ago.

Davis said despite her accomplishments on the city council, the job wasn’t done. She wants Caltrain to expand and electrify, and for other projects like Google development to be done to suit residents’ needs.

“I love San Jose, I love our district. We’re here for the long term. We bought our house here,” said Davis. “I have the experience and have been very proud of the achievements my team and I have achieved over the past four years. I want to continue this work.”

According to campaign funding records, Davis raised $ 152,097 and spent $ 142,935 this year on September 19.

Liccardo, Vice Mayor Chappie Jones, Councilors Lan Diep, Pam Foley and Johnny Khamis support Davis.

Davis is also supported by the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC), the Business San José Chamber PAC, the California Apartment Association, Citizens for Tax Responsibility, the Mercury News, the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS, the Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters and the Silicon support valley organization PAC.


“What is the most important lesson you learned in 2020 and how did it prepare you for this role?”


Surname: Devours “Dev” Davis Age: 42 Family: Married, 2 children Political Affiliation: None Education: Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Oakland University and Master’s degree in Public Policy & Policy, Organization and Leadership from Stanford University Job: Councilor of the 6th District Current or previously elected or appointed positions: Chairman of the Committee on Transport and the Environment, Member of the Committee on Smart Cities and Innovation and Deputy Chairman of the Joint Political Advisory Board of VTA Diridon Station Top 3 priorities: Homelessness, cleaning up the plague in our neighborhoods and streams, and recovering from the economic impact of COVID-19 Top 3 comments: Mayor Sam Liccardo, Vice Mayor Chappie Jones and Supervisor Susan Ellenberg Special talent: Played oboe on college scholarship Why vote for you in one sentence ?: “I have the experience necessary to keep our neighborhoods safe and secure, and to make sure we recover quickly from the effects of COVID-19.”

Contact Carly Wipf at [email protected] or follow @CarlyChristineW on Twitter.

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