SIDNEY — Sidney native and Sidney High School graduate Warren Davidson, elected to represent the 8th Congressional District, was the speaker at Monday’s meeting of the Sidney Rotary Club.
Davidson was elected from a field of 15 candidates in the June 7, 2016, special election to fill the seat vacated by former House Speaker John Boehner. He was then re-elected, Nov. 8, to serve a full term.
“Shortly after school began in September of Warren Davidson’s senior year in high school, Sidney High School Guidance Counselor Dorothy Franklin pulled Davidson into her office to discuss his future plans. When he told her that he wanted to be an Army Ranger, her response was one he remembers well. ‘You are a smart guy. You really should consider going to college,’” Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst told Rotarians and their guests as he introduced Davidson.
“When Warren told her that he had thought about West Point, he also remembers her response. ‘That’s not going to happen. You’ve not focused as a student in high school. They are looking for the best of the best, and you’ve not demonstrated academically that you are one of the top students in your class,’” Barhorst said.
After he graduated from Sidney High School in 1989, Davidson enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, where he earned his expert infantryman’s badge, scored the highest skills qualification test score in the 3rd Infantry Division and was selected for training with the 10th Special Forces Group.
His subsequent excellent performance provided him the unusual opportunity to be appointed from the ranks to West Point. He graduated from West Point, having majored in American history and minored in electrical engineering, Phi Kappa Phi, in the top 10 percent of his class. After West Point, he was the highest-rated platoon leader in the Old Guard and was hand-picked for assignment with the 75th Ranger Regiment.
“His military accomplishments could not have been scripted better had they been written in Hollywood,” Barhorst stated. “In the interest of time, I’m omitting a great deal of important information: his accomplishments as an officer in the 75th Ranger Regiment, his accomplishments in the 101st Airborne Division, his marrying his wife, the birth of their children and even his graduation with an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.
“Although leaving a promising military career was a difficult decision, he joined his family’s business and grew that business exponentially. When John Boehner resigned, he was perhaps the least-known of the 15 people who threw their hats in the ring. He emerged from that process elected to Congress,” Barhorst concluded.
“It is good to be back in Sidney,” Davidson told his audience. “I grew up at 512 Third St., next door to Weigandt’s greenhouse. I was a typical high schooler. I enjoyed hanging with my friends. I had a newspaper route when I was 14 and had a job at the Ponderosa Steak House when I was 16. As the mayor stated, academics were not important to me in high school. Back when I was in high school and kids still rode bicycles, I would come to the Moose and play nine holes of golf. On days when I was really fortunate, I would play 27. I don’t represent your district, but it’s so good to be back home.
“When I entered the Army, I took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Davidson added. “When I was elected to serve in the United States Congress, I took the same oath. I put my dog tags back on, symbolic of the fact that I am approaching my work in Congress with the same mindset as I approached my military duties.
“You never know where life’s path will take you. When I was first approached by an individual who encouraged me to run, I told them I was flattered but had companies to run and would make a contribution to the candidate I believed would best represent my interests.
“Others continued to encourage me to consider running, and I still wasn’t sure. The other candidates had already held fundraisers and garnered support. It wasn’t until the last minute that I finally decided. I filed my paperwork just 10 minutes before the deadline,” Davidson stated. “I approached the campaign as a business might approach the roll-out of a new product. It was unique though, because I was the product.”
Davidson took questions from the audience, which included 10 students from Sidney High School and Principal Jon Geuy. The topics included the repeal of Obamacare, the high cost of prescription drugs andDavidson’s proposal to create a Welfare Benefit Reform and Alignment Commission (BRAC). Davidson’s Welfare BRAC would consolidate 92 welfare programs into 12 to 20.
“Funding would not change, but the savings would come from the duplication in welfare administration,” Davidson told the Rotarians.
“There are two things you don’t want to watch being made,” Davidson stated. “They are sausage and legislation. I’ve seen sausage being made and now I’ve seen the legislative process and I can tell you that making legislation is messier.”
With respect to the Constitution, Davidson referred to Isaiah 44. “Just as the ancient Israelites struggled with their faith and attempted to interpret for themselves the word of God, there are those who interpret for themselves the Constitution — the document doesn’t really mean what it says.”
Congressman Davidson had high praise for 4th District Congressman Jim Jordan.
“He is an outstanding public servant, an outstanding member of Congress, and an outstanding individual,” Davidson said.
Davidson also said that he thought that the Brookings Institute had the perfect solution for eliminating poverty in our country.
“They recommend three things,” Davidson said of the left-leaning think tank. “They include: 1) every individual obtain at least a high school education; 2) every individual take a job, no matter the pay; and, 3) that no one have children without first being married.”
Davidson answered a final question about his biggest surprise when arriving in Washington.
“They have no white boards. I’m used to putting ideas up for everyone to see, erasing, adding, subtracting, brainstorming and collaborating. That doesn’t happen. I’m not saying that white boards would solve all the problems in Washington, but it is symptomatic of the problem. We have to change the status quo,” he said.