Joe Davis, Sr. was elected to his first term as 2nd District Alderman during a special election on April 29, 2003 after having previously served on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. He won re-election to a full term during the spring general election on April 6, 2004, and was re-elected in April 2008 and again in April 2012.
Alderman Davis serves as chair of the Common Council's Community and Economic Development Committee and the Sister Cities Committee, spearheading efforts by the latter body to forge new international ties with cities across the globe, especially in Africa. Alderman Davis is currently the Republic of South Africa Honorary Consulate of the State of Wisconsin.
He also serves as a member of the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation's Board of Directors. In 2008 he was named to the board of directors of the National League of Cities and served a two year term. He was also appointed to the National League of Cities' International Council for 2009. He has also served as a member of a select focus group of local government leaders asked to help assess an implementation plan for the National City Network, an initiative that connects websites, print communications, government access television, conferences, meetings and other communications offered by the National League of Cities, state municipal leagues and individual cities across the United States. He has served as a member of the Community and Economic Development Policy and Advocacy Steering Committee since 2004, including as Vice Chair during 2006 and 2007, and was the Chairman in 2008.
Working closely with the NLC, in 2005 Ald. Davis fought successfully to maintain Milwaukee's more than $27 million federal allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, which were threatened with cuts. Recently, Alderman Davis sponsored successful legislation bringing city property owners a new, low-cost optional warranty protection program for sewer lines provided through the NLC’s Service Line Warranty Program.
Legislatively, Ald. Davis was instrumental in helping bring a $12 million retail development to Milwaukee's northwest side in 2004. That development, which transformed an aging shopping center into a thriving retail destination, was sold recently for $55 million. He has also worked to reduce the spread of predatory payday loan businesses, helping to create Milwaukee's Convenient Lending Task Force in 2005. Ald. Davis has sponsored CDBG program reform measures, and he has sought to limit the spread of storefront day care operations and residential group homes to avoid depreciating property values.
Ald. Davis has been proactive in working to create jobs, and in 2005 he was the primary sponsor in helping to create the city's Summer Youth Internship Program, an initiative that has since provided hundreds of paid summer internships in various city departments for young people. Ald. Davis has recently been actively involved in successful efforts to have the U.S. Department of Commerce Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Board designate the Port of Milwaukee as the new grantee for Foreign Trade Zone No. 41, giving the Port contractual oversight of subzone and user driven site applications, and allowing it to promote the benefits of zone use for economic development and creation and retention of jobs in the region.
Ald. Davis has worked closely with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee on the redevelopment and revitalization plan for the Westlawn neighborhood. With the input of Ald. Davis, the $82 million housing and infrastructure project is moving forward in a manner that will cut costs and not only revitalize the neighborhood, but will also serve as a catalytic project that will help spur further redevelopment in the larger Silver Spring area community.
After listening to young people who said they wanted to have more of a stake in youth activities and other critical community issues in the City of Milwaukee, in 2004 Ald. Davis became the primary sponsor of the Common Council legislation that created the City of Milwaukee Youth Council. The Youth Council has since been active in making recommendations and sponsoring legislation to improve the quality of life for youth in the City of Milwaukee.
Alderman Davis is a graduate of Custer High School, Michigan State University/United Association Instructor Program and the State of Wisconsin Building Trades Apprenticeship Program. For nearly 29 years, he has been a member of the Steamfitters Local 601, has his credentials as a certified international instructor of the United Association and is a past member of the Milwaukee Joint Apprenticeship Committee of the Pipefitting Industry.