Tom Davis is a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives who represented Virginia’s 11th congressional district in Northern Virginia. Davis was considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by five-term incumbent and fellow Republican John Warner in the 2008 election, but decided against it. He announced on January 30, 2008, that he would not seek reelection to an eighth term
He is currently a director of federal government affairs at Deloitte and the rector (head of the Board of Visitors) of George Mason University and a trustee of its Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study
Early Life and Education
Davis was born in Minot, North Dakota, and moved to Fairfax County at an early age. He was a U.S. Senate Page and graduated as president of the senior class at the United States Capitol Page School in 1967. He is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Virginia School of Law. He attended Officer Candidate School of the U.S. Army, served on active duty, and spent eight years with the Virginia National Guardand the U.S. Army Reserve.
Davis was a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors from 1980 to 1994, serving as chairman of the Board of Supervisors from 1991 until his election to the House. During his service as board chairman, Fairfax County was ranked first financially by City and State magazine in their list of Top 50 Counties.
Davis won election to the House in 1994, the year of the Republican Contract with America. Davis defeated one-term incumbent Leslie Byrne. The Contract with America called for citizen-legislators who would retire after 12 years, instead of career politicians. Davis signed the Contract and voted in favor of the Citizens Legislature Act; however, the bill did not achieve support from the 2/3 majority needed for the amendment to pass. Although the 11th was considered a swing district, Davis was reelected five more times without substantive opposition in part due to his popularity in Fairfax County. He even ran unopposed in 1998 and 2002.
In 2006, Davis faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from Democrat Andrew Hurst, but was reelected with 55 percent of the vote—his lowest total since his initial bid against Byrne. Nonetheless, he began fundraising for a Senate bid in 2007. In his 2004 term, on what the Washington Post deemed to be his then-most recent “key votes”, Davis voted 10 times out of the last 13 times (77 percent) for the Republican Party position. On a series of 1,700 votes reported by The Washington Post, Davis voted over 89 percent of the time in favor of the Republican position. Nevertheless, Davis was sometimes described as a moderate; he supported someabortion rights and voting rights for the District of Columbia, and opposed a state car tax phase-out in 2006.
Davis was chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from 1998 to 2002. According to The Federal Paper, he then sought the chairmanship of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee. Davis had less seniority than the other contenders for this chairmanship, but some Republicans wanted to reward him for his work as NRCC chairman, including his supervision of a $160 million fundraising effort. Davis’s deputy on the NRCC, Tom Reynolds of New York, became the next NRCC chairman.
Davis was chair of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina. Democrats, who had proposed an independent investigation, objected and did not officially take part in the committee. The committee proceeded, eventually producing a stinging report critical of government’s response to the disaster.
Davis introduced the bill that became the Elizabeth Morgan Act, passed in 1996. In 2003, a federal appeals court ruled that the act was an unconstitutional bill of attainder.
Davis has been instrumental in getting federal funding for the replacement of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
Davis sponsored legislation creating a financial control board for Washington, D.C. He was in charge, until 2000, of the Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on the District of Columbia, generally favoring allowing the District government more autonomy.
Apparently in a surprise to the House Judiciary Committee, the Reform Committee passed HR 2043 (the DC Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act), a bill Davis introduced to provide the District of Columbia with voting representation in Congress. This bill differs from other bills that would grant the district the right to elect Representatives. HR 2043 requires the addition of two representatives, one in Washington, D.C., and one in Utah, by raising the number of Representatives from 435 to 437. Originally, the number of House seats would return to 435 after the 2010 Census, with Washington, D.C. retaining a full vote in the House., but later versions of the bill make the expansion to 437 seats permanent. The bill did not make it to the House floor, however.
The bill was reintroduced, cosponsored by Davis, as the “District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2007”, as H.R. 1433 in the 110th Congress. The bill permanently increases the size of the House by two members. One seat will go to the District of Columbia and the other seat will go to the next state in line to get a congressional seat. Based on the 2000 decennial census and apportionment calculations, Utah will get the second seat until the reapportionment taking place after the 2010 Decennial Census.On March 13, 2007 it passed the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform with a vote of 24–5.
On November 17, 2008, Davis joined Deloitte Consulting in their Washington, D.C. office. He resigned from Congress on November 24, 2008.
Davis served as President and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a moderate Republican organization.
He has also started teaching a class at George Mason University, called “Southern Politics” in the 2008 Fall Semester.
In the Spring and Fall of 2010, Davis taught Political Parties and Campaigns. The course is described as “Characteristics and functions of political parties, influence of parties and other political forces on electoral decisions, and emphasis on parties’ inability or ability to hold government accountable to citizens” in the catalog. Former Virginia U.S. Representative Jim Moran also teaches the class with him.
On December 21, 2010, it was announced that Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell appointed Davis to be a member of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors, filling one of the five seats on the Board allotted to Virginia.
In August 2014 Davis was named rector of George Mason University. He had been on the university’s Board of Visitors since 2013.
Davis is a member of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One, a group of former members of congress, governors and cabinet officials dedicated to campaign finance reform.
Tom Davis Speaks at GMU – Parts I & II
Rick Sincere | May 17, 2009
Introduced by Dean Jack R. Censer of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences of George Mason University, former U.S. Representative Tom Davis (R-VA11) delivers the Convocation Address at the Patriot Center on Friday, May 15, 2009.
One-on-One with Tom Davis
Mason Votes | Nov. 5, 2014
WGMU’s General Manager, Storm Paglia goes one-on-one for a post election interview with Rector of George Mason University, Tom Davis