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Congresswoman, 57, dies of cancer

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October 9, 2007

1:55 AM

U.S. Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis, a Republican representing the first district of Virginia, died last Saturday from breast cancer at the age of 57. Davis was Virginia’s first female Republican to serve on Capitol Hill. The first congressional district includes the city of Williamsburg.

p. Before her election to the House in 2000, she served in Virginia’s General Assembly for two years and started her own real estate business.

p. In office, Davis, a born-again Christian, championed her socially conservative ideals.

p. She voted with the Bush Administration a majority of the time, but in August of 2006 called for former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation.

p. A member of the House Armed Services Committee, she worked hard to support Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News during her seven years in Congress. She also fought to remove the environmentally hazardous “ghost fleet,” a group of 97 former government ships parked in the middle of the James River.

p. “Congresswoman Davis counted it a privilege to represent William and Mary and most of those for whom it’s home, but the honor of her friendship and leadership was ours,” College president Gene Nichol said in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Understanding well the College’s past, working always with its future in mind, Congresswoman Davis was a steadfast supporter we’ll remember long and warmly. She will be deeply missed.”

p. Governor Tim Kaine (D-Va.) will schedule a special election to fill Davis’s seat.

p. The election may occur Nov. 6, the date of Virginia’s general election. If that date is not chosen, Kaine must wait until at least mid-December to hold another election, according to The Daily Press.

p. Davis’s funeral will be held Thursday in Gloucester County, and many Virginia politicians will be in attendance.

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