Interview with Rev. Elmer Neal Davis, Jr., Town of Easton Councilman
EEDC: What attracted you to apply for the opening on the Council?
Rev. Davis: A calling from God. I’m committed to enhancing the quality of life of every person I come in contact with, and all I could hear God saying is, ‘now is the time.’
EEDC: What is your background?
Rev. Davis: I was a Lieutenant with the Salisbury Police Department I worked as a bereavement counselor with Coastal hospice for about eight years, and I’ve been a United Methodist pastor part-time and full time for about 27 years. Currently, I’m the district superintendent of the United Methodist Church, in charge of 125 churches and 70 pastors, from the Chesapeake Bay bridge to the Vienna bridge.
EEDC: What are you going to be focusing on during your time on the Council?
Rev. Davis: What interests me is bringing the community together for the betterment of the community. And because one of my experiences, when I was at one of my churches, was getting $17.5 million in tax credits, I’m all about economic development and bringing new businesses to the city that are beneficial to the town.
My other focus is to bring about a change in the African American community. I’m in Ward 4, and I want to enlighten people with knowledge. I want to make sure that all the people in my district come to a better understanding of the government, how it works, and how we can do things better.
Because of my police background, I also really want to work with the police department to show them how to work in partnership with the community and empower the community to get a better understanding of their own environment. Because perception is reality, correct?
EEDC: How do you go about doing that?
Rev. Davis: I’m a person of the community, and I’m willing to learn. I want to interact. I want to hear what people have to say because I think there is a value in individuals who work, live, and interact within the city of Easton. So, I believe that it is my responsibility to make those things happen, have meetings with individuals to see it from their perspective, and not just make an administrative decision that affects people’s lives.
EEDC: Easton’s had a couple of rough weeks with the various very vocal opinions on the Business District Promenade issue? How do we heal?
Rev. Davis: Well, I think that Easton heals by showing transparency and being honest with each other and, and say what you mean, and mean what you say. I’m a man of faith. I believe prayer changes things. Prayer works.
EEDC: How do you stand on the Promenade issue?
Rev. Davis: I’ve seen, heard, and listened to several plans. I mean, everybody’s planning, but nobody was saying how we’re going to pay for the plan. We had a meeting the other day, and there were four different ideas, but nobody talked about the estimated cost of each plan. We need to know the economic impact, whether it be on the city or not, on how to make this happen.
EEDC: Well, that’s a good reminder of things that need to be considered.
Rev. Davis: I also want to remind people that because of my law enforcement background, safety is first. We have to make sure that whatever we do, that individuals are safe because that’s important to me. And don’t get me wrong, I understand there’s a pandemic. I understand some people are struggling, but I’d really want you to be safe. I think if we figured that out and once we figure out the cost of whatever direction we’re going, it all plays a part. We should plan holistically.
EEDC: Anything else?
Rev. Davis: I want to have the opportunity to meet with the people of Easton, to introduce myself to the group, the committee, the board, or whatever. I want people to put a face with a name and know that I live here in the city, and I’m willing to make a difference.
EEDC: I have no doubt you’ll be receiving those invitations. Thank you, Reverend.