Tom Davis on politics today in Northern Virginia~
They’ve done it to themselves because they’ve emphasized these social issues, in an area that’s becoming much more widely diverse, instead of focusing on the bread and butter and the economic issues that basically decide the success or not of every jurisdiction. They just priced themselves out of the market. So even where they were right on a number of issues, you had young people, people of color, just pushing the mute button when you had the Republican label.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town and this is Andy Ockershausen and we’re so fortunate to have a friend for many, many years who sort of disappeared part of our life, but thank God, not totally. Congressman Tom Davis, welcome to Our Town.
Tom Davis: Andy, it’s great to retire from my life of quiet anonymity to come on to your show.
Andy Ockershausen: Tom, I can’t tell you Tom, how much I miss you and seeing your career and being a part of your life, whether you like it or not, WMAL was because-
Tom Davis: Absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: And I was involved with the Alexandria Group there and the good old days when we elected people, but you can’t get a Republican elected in Alexandria now with a search warrant. But Tom, you’ve done so well. 14 years in Congress?
Tom Davis – 29 Years of Public Service | Former United States Congressman and Fairfax County Board Member
Tom Davis: Right, and I was 15 years on the County Board in Fairfax before that.
Andy Ockershausen: You were? That’s 29. That’s half your life.
Tom Davis: 29. Yeah, I know. Well it was more than half-
Andy Ockershausen: The Arlington County board?
Tom Davis: I mean, less than half my life now.
Andy Ockershausen: That was the ABC guy?
Tom Davis: No, this was the Fairfax County.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, Fairfax County?
Tom Davis: Yeah, yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: I remember my friend Bob Peck was on the Arlington Board for a while.
Reminiscing – Local Political Races
Tom Davis: Oh my goodness. I remember all those races, because I grew up on those races in Arlington.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re an Arlington guy, right?
Tom Davis: In Arlington, yeah. I remember Hal Casto. Do you remember Hal Casto? He was on the Board.
Andy Ockershausen: Very well. I remember the name.
Tom Davis: Ned Thomas, they owned the cemetery. He was on the County Board.
Andy Ockershausen: The cemetery? He lived on the cemetery?
Tom Davis: He did. He did.
Andy Ockershausen: He and his wife lived on a cemetery?
The Cemetery Story
Tom Davis: In fact, we ran a registration drive there one year on the cemetery, and we get to this really old tombstone to get it appropriately registered and we couldn’t read the name. We’re putting the flashlight on. We’re trying to put a paper over it and engrave it, and figure out what’s the name. Somebody comes and says, “Davis, we gotta get outta here. The cops are going to be here in a few minutes.” I said, “Wait a minute. This man has just as much right to vote as everybody else in here.”
Andy Ockershausen: He’s one of us, the good Republican. You couldn’t find one now with a search warrant, I’ll guarantee you. Tom, but you’re a local guy. You grew up in Arlington.
Tom Davis: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: And that’s a big part of your life is Northern Virginia. It’s been there your whole life, your whole college career was in Northern Virginia.
On Growing Up | Family and Education | Full Scholarship to Amerherst
Tom Davis: Except for army, college, and basically law school. Yeah, that’s it.
Andy Ockershausen: Where was college?
Tom Davis: Amherst, in Massachusetts.
Andy Ockershausen: Amherst, a good school. Wow!
Tom Davis: They gave me a full scholarship. It was not a hard choice.
Andy Ockershausen: Amherst is one of the schools for the, you know, the silver spoon.
Tom Davis: I was lucky. I had a plastic spoon, but Amherst was wealthy enough they gave me a full scholarship, even paid my bus fare up there. So, we had no money.
Andy Ockershausen: Massachusetts, right?
Tom Davis: Right. My Dad had two tours in state prison system and left my mom with five kids, and so she cracked the whip on it and you did grades and you never smoked or drank, and that was it. That stayed with me my whole life, the work ethic and the ethics.
Andy Ockershausen: You went to Washington Lee high school then?
Middle School and High School – Page Boy for the U.S. Senate
Tom Davis: Well, I actually was a Page in the Senate for my four years of high school. So I went to Stratford for a year, Swanson for the year, and then when I finished the eighth grade I started as a Page boy in the U.S. Senate for four years. I did that in high school.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow!
Tom Davis: But I did go, my senior year, I went to the Page School prom, the WNL prom and the Yorktown prom.
Andy Ockershausen: There was a Yorktown then.
Tom Davis: Three different girls, but it was a great time. Great time to be young.
On Running for Virginia’s 11th U.S. Congressional District
Andy Ockershausen: You inherited Northern Virginia because it’s your-
Tom Davis: That’s where I lived, you know.
Andy Ockershausen: Was it the 10th district then?
Tom Davis: It was the 10th when I grew up and they created the 11th after I was elected Chairman of the County Board. I couldn’t run right away, but the Republicans lost the seat and then two years later I came back and won.
Andy Ockershausen: Who had the 10th when you ran?
Tom Davis: Oh, Frank Wolf, who was a dear friend.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, our Frank?
Tom Davis: Yeah, and then they created a new district, the 11th. They created it and drew it to kind of favor the Democrats. It was a more neutral district but it had democratic lean. We lost the seat in ’92 and in ’94 I was Chairman of the County Board. I came back and won the seat for the Republicans.
Andy Ockershausen: The 11th or the 10th?
Tom Davis: In the 11th.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh.
Tom Davis: So Frank and I served together.
Andy Ockershausen: Tom, so you really are root bound in northern Virginia?
Tom Davis: Absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: And not a bad place to be.
Tom Davis Impact on County Board | Won Chairman Seat from Incumbent
Tom Davis: No. I’ve seen all the changes, and on the County Board for 15 years, got to help, you know, rezone Tyson’s and all those areas, and had a huge hand. If you remember when I was elected Chairman of the County Board, I beat Audrey Moore. She was the no-growther.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, I remember Audrey.
Tom Davis: She was the one who didn’t want to build 66. They didn’t want to do anything. Right?
Andy Ockershausen: No Metro.
Tom Davis: Right. She was the incumbent. She defeated Jack Herrity four years before, and I came back and I beat her two to one and we-
Andy Ockershausen: You keep bringing up names. I remember Herrity so well. He was a friend and he was always on the air here. You know, he was a freak. He loved radio. He was always calling in with something.
Tom Davis: Well, Jack had a good face for the radio.
Andy Ockershausen: He was ugly.
Tom Davis: Look, Jack was … His vision basically took Fairfax where it was. Audrey Moore interrupted it and then I came back, repealed what she’d done, and the future boards, which have all been Democrat, have all basically kept to that adherence of being pro-business.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, this whole career of yours and what you’ve done for Northern Virginia has been fabulous, and I want to take a break here now, but then I want to talk to you about the present Arlington County, and the present Fairfax County, and the present Loudoun County. They are all part of us now, Tom.
Tom Davis: They are. The city’s moved out into the suburbs and the suburbs have moved out into the countryside.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockerhausen. This is Our Town.
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Andy Ockershausen:So, this is Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town and a conversation with a very well known, most important man in a lot of our lives, Congressman Tom Davis, who maybe his biggest career is now Tom, because you’re doing a lot of philanthropy work and you’re in the private sector and you brought that talent to bear. You didn’t leave. A lot of congressman leave us, but you don’t.
Rector, George Mason University | Life After Congress
Tom Davis: Well look, in Congress your one skill set to be a member of Congress is being good at spending other people’s money, and I’m still doing that. I’m the Rector of George Mason University, so I’m the Chairman of the Board there, where we have to raise a lot of money, but you know we didn’t raise tuition this year. We’re the largest university in the state. Would you believe it? 37,000 students.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow, incredible.
Tom Davis: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: My son graduated from George Mason. You know they had two … At one time, George Mason had two Nobel winners on the staff.
Tom Davis: Correct. Correct. I think we’re going to get a third.
Andy Ockershausen: Is that right?
Tom Davis: Yeah. Look, we’re doing really well at this point. The University’s moving in a number of ways. We just had our president got recruited by Georgia Tech.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh yeah, he’s leaving.
Tom Davis: Which we think is a complement for them? So we’re going to be in the process of picking an interim president and then a permanent president to continue George Mason’s path.
Andy Ockershausen: And a gorgeous campus too, Tom.
Tom Davis: Of course, we have an Arlington campus that’s going to be just changed overnight because of Amazon coming in as well. Where we host the law school, you know, we had the Mercatus Center there. So, no, a lot of challenges ahead, and I get my public service now out of, you know, serving the University.
Somebody said, “What does the Rector pay?” I said, “Well you have to donate $100,000, but that’s my public service.”
Andy Ockershausen: You have done a lot more for the northern Virginia out of Congress than you did in, but-
Tom Davis: Well, everybody does more out of Congress than in, Andy. That’s not even a compliment.
Andy Ockershausen: You were involved when DC set up the Control Board, were you?
On Writing DC Control Board Legislation
Tom Davis: I wrote the Control Board legislation with Alice Rivlin in the Clinton Administration.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, that’s right.
Tom Davis: I was the chief sponsor of the bill in Congress.
Andy Ockershausen: I knew that with Steve Harlan and-
Tom Davis: Well he came on, but in writing it, when I introduced the bill, we introduced it in the House and we got it through the House, and Senate, and signed into law in nine days. How often does that happen?
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, impossible.
Tom Davis: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: City was going broke too, Tom.
Tom Davis: They were broke. They were more than broke, exactly right.
Andy Ockershausen: Destitute. But you helped bail it out. Now tell me, what are the achievements?
Tom Davis: The hard part about that is, you had a white Republican from the suburbs writing a bill, taking control of the city away from an elected African American mayor. So it was, you know … You had to have some finesse in doing this kind of thing. So yeah, we wrote the Control Board Bill, the College Access Bill for DC. I closed the Lorton prison legislatively and got 3000 acres given to the county for open space.
Andy Ockershausen: I remember that so vividly, and they’re using it wisely now.
Tom Davis: Well, we put a cap on development so that they keep it, but it got the County free land for the high school down there, the Laurel Hill Golf course. No, I look back, it was a pretty good career. I did the baseball steroid hearings. You remember that? That changed baseball forever.
Andy Ockershausen: Fabulous, I remember that.
Tom Davis: So in this business-
Andy Ockershausen: Who was the guy from St Louis that was up there? McGuire?
On Leaving Congress Undefeated and Unindicted | It Was Time to Move On and College Tuition
Tom Davis: Oh, yeah. I had dinner with him the night before actually. It’s a long story. And so why did I leave? I left undefeated and unindicted, which is the way you want to get out of the place. You want to leave while people are still applauding, not when they’re saying, “When’s he gonna leave?”, and shove you out of the way. I just, I saw my opportunity. I knew I could make some money on the outside. I suffered from a disease that we don’t talk about much, it was called mal tuition. I don’t know if you’ve ever had it?
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, Davis.
Tom Davis: The only thing worse is alimonia. I never had that, but I had, you know, three kids in college, two at Swarthmore, one at William & Mary. Those are big bucks.
Andy Ockershausen: Did they grow up in Arlington, your kids?
Tom Davis: They all grew up in Fairfax.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, you had moved. You left Arlington.
Tom Davis: Jeb Stuart High School.
Andy Ockershausen: Not anymore.
Tom Davis: Yeah, I know. That’s a whole other story.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, another subject. I don’t go into that.
Tom Davis: That’s a whole story.
Andy Ockershausen: We had the same thing with Joe Broyhill. He was a white Congressman from northern Virginia dealing with Walter Washington, but they became very close in legislation rings.
DC and Virginia’s “Destinies Interwined” | Davis Worked to Bring People Together
Tom Davis: Well, I took a different view than Broyhill though, because I felt that DC and the suburbs used to be always at loggerheads, and you know, they’re worried. They want to close Lorton prison because it was an African American DC prison in Virginia. I took a different tack. I said, “These prisoners aren’t getting the rehabilitation they need. The recidivism rate is high. Why don’t we move them into the federal system, where they can get the kind of care and nurturing and training that they need, so when they’re released they can come out in the outside world and become productive citizens.”
I said, “It’s not Northern Virginia versus DC. We really, our destiny’s are intertwined, and so what I did as the Chairmanship, is brought us together and we work together on a number of things, bringing baseball to Washington, moving the Cap Center downtown. I was the chief sponsor of the bill that was needed to bring that center downtown, where the Caps and the Wizards play. So I had a good run of it, and being able to do things for the community.
Andy Ockershausen: You did, Tom. Great, great productive years, what you’ve done for Our Town.
Tom Davis: With help. I didn’t do it by myself. I had John Warner, in the Senate, was a great ally. Jim Moran and Frank Wolf were my colleagues in the House. We didn’t worry about stealing each other’s press releases. We did these things together and it just made it a lot smoother, because if you’re not elbowing somebody out to get the credit, you can get things done.
Andy Ockershausen: You got it done.
Tom Davis: Yeah, exactly.
Andy Ockershausen: Well Tom, your career in the House was different, because it’s now all changed. Then you were bipartisan in a lot of ways, you have Democrats, Republicans working for the good. Now, the Republicans seem to be, not out of style, but certainly out of sight in Northern Virginia. I think that’s bad because we don’t have that friction.
Republicans in Northern Virginia on Endangered Species List
Tom Davis: Right, no. The Republicans now in Northern Virginia are on the endangered species list.
Andy Ockershausen: Extinct. Extinct.
Tom Davis: They’ve done it to themselves because they’ve emphasized these social issues, in an area that’s becoming much more widely diverse, instead of focusing on the bread and butter and the economic issues that basically decide the success or not of every jurisdiction. They just priced themselves out of the market. So even where they were right on a number of issues, you had young people, people of color, just pushing the mute button when you had the Republican label.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, I go back to working for Linwood Holton, and he was a strange Republican because a lot of people thought he was a Democrat, but he was enlightened. He was talking about the future.
Tom Davis: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: He said, “We can’t be just a one party town and a one party state.”
Tom Davis: He broke in, you know, first Republican Governor in the history of the State.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s right.
Virginia Political History
Tom Davis: We had to readjust our government back in the 1880s, but this had been a democratic state. Democratic coalition had been based on race, basically a white supremacist state.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s what killed Linwood.
Tom Davis: Yeah. Linwood was . . . integrated the schools and we moved the state where it had to be.
Andy Ockershausen: It did.
Tom Davis: Then the party moved away from him. See all the, what we call the Byrd people, the conservative Democrats, a lot of the segregationists, once the African Americans entered the democratic primers, they didn’t have anywhere to go, and so they ended up moving into the Republican Party.
Andy Ockershausen: Certainly.
Tom Davis: Coalitions are strange bedfellows as you walk through it, but they became dominant in some areas and that really priced them out of the market in some urban areas.
Andy Ockershausen: Tom, did Frank Wolf do the same?
Frank Wolf – Sui Generis
Tom Davis: No. Frank was frank. Frank was a sui generis. You look at Frank Wolfe-
Andy Ockershausen: He younger than you?
Tom Davis: He’s 10 years older. He’s 10 years older.
Andy Ockershausen: I thought so.
Tom Davis: But he’s in good shape. I saw Frank not long ago. Frank, well, he was socially conservative, but he didn’t wear that issue on his sleeve. He was Mr every man. People identified with him. If you had a problem, you called Frank Wolf. He was very pragmatic and we used to call him the conscience of the house. You never worried about Frank Wolf getting close to an ethics issue.
Andy Ockershausen: No he was a delightful man to do business with. We knew him quite well. Thank God he was a WMAL listener.
Tom Davis: Absolutely. I hope we hope he’s listening now. Frank, we love you.
Andy Ockershausen: I would hope so too. Well Tom Davis, this has been great and we’re going to come back. We’re going to take a break and come talk to you about what is going on today in Virginia.
Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen. Brought to you by Best Bark Communications.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town and a wonderful conversation with Tom Davis, who has been our Congressman in Northern Virginia. I say our because I was in the northern Virginia at one time and I loved it, because it was an active political state, with good factions.
Now, Northern Virginia has changed dramatically, Tom, not just the election, but the skyline. Everything’s changed to me.
Tom Davis: Everything’s changed, but look-
Andy Ockershausen: It’s progress.
Northern Virginia has Changed for the Good
Tom Davis: It’s been changed for the good. If you take a look at it, people are coming here. It’s a place they want to be, and we’re attracting people from all over the world, a talent pool that has made our economy the envy not just of the country, but of the world when you think about it. The kind of jobs that are here, it’s built around government, but it’s basically, it’s intellectual capital.
Andy Ockershausen: Arlington, Virginia is such a beautiful, beautiful place to live now. It boomed the very ethnic in parts, Tom, of a migration.
Tom Davis: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Which is great.
Changes in Urban and Rural America
Tom Davis: It’s going on in cities across the country. What’s happened are jobs have moved from rural America to urban America. It’s these clusters of talented people that end up attracting business, and we happen to be at one of the forefronts of that, but if you drive out to rural America, it’s been really hurting. They’re losing population. Unemployment’s are high. I’m just surprised when I go out sometimes, it’s closed shops, and gas stations, and the like. Let me put the politics this way. So, in the high education, high income areas are now Democratic bastions, if you can believe. It’s kind of reversal of when we were growing up, when it was, you know-
Andy Ockershausen: Over the years.
Tom Davis: Yeah, you put a Trump sign up in my neighborhood it’s akin to a hate crime, but you go out 40 miles, people are making their own Trump signs.
Andy Ockershausen: We see that, Tom. We know that.
On Donald Trump
Tom Davis: What people don’t understand is, Donald Trump spoke to these people that everybody else was ignoring, or looking down, or calling them deplorables and they rose up and ended up electing him and now they’re heavily invested in him. You talk about sui generis, I mean, you talk about somebody who’s one of a kind. I mean, Donald Trump is one of a kind. He’s a little unconventional, and a lot of people find it very hard to, you know, accept his mannerisms and everything else. We have a certain part of America that’s heavily invested in him because he paid attention to them.
Andy Ockershausen: Right. He listened to them.
Tom Davis: Yeah, you can argue about the policies. That’s a whole different argument on that kind of thing, so.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: From your point of view though, what’s remarkable is, it just seems like the culture is somebody telling you how to feel, how to believe, and when you have a lifelong belief system and then someone is telling you how to change your beliefs, it’s difficult to handle. It used to be maybe what my dad would call a generation gap, but it’s more … It’s a cultural gap. A huge cultural gap.
“It’s a Cultural Gap”
Tom Davis: It’s a huge cultural gap. I mean, you think about it, we’ve got an opioid crisis and people are saying, “Well, the answer to that is we’ve got to legalize marijuana.” They have these opium dens now where you can go shoot up, out in northwest and you walk in, I’m not kidding, you walk in there, people can shoot up, and get heroin shot up because they get a clean needle.
Andy Ockershausen: Off the street?
Tom Davis: And on the wall is a sign that says no smoking. You can’t make this stuff up.
Andy Ockershausen: No, no, you’re right.
Tom Davis: I mean, for a lot of us generationally, this stuff looks really goofy, but it makes sense to a different generation and a different worldview, and we’re just very divided. We don’t spend enough time talking to the other person, trying to get inside of their head, trying to understand, you know, what are the lenses that you look at life through?
If we did that, I think it’d be a lot better, but we also have media reinforcements where people tune in every night to their cable news show, or radio, or podcast, or perhaps just on the Internet and they get their worldviews validated.
Andy Ockershausen: Social media has changed the world.
It’s Social Media
Tom Davis: Sure and changed it, the world. It’s not just the U.S., it’s Brexit and the UK. It’s electing a comedian president of the Ukraine. I mean it’s everywhere, and the political system has not caught up with it, and with the rapidity of change in so many areas, economically, culturally, everything else, you’re going to get disruption.
Andy Ockershausen: Tom, we see it daily. Well, your political world you grew up in doesn’t exist anymore.
Tom Davis: No, no.
Andy Ockershausen: And maybe not come back, but we’re still in a nation of politicians, and an importance, and a constitution, and law, and what we have is still the envy of the world, Tom, and we’ve got to adhere to that.
New Balance of Power Exists Today – Not Fairing Very Well Right Now
Tom Davis: It’s being tested all the time because what’s happened, let me just say, on the political side, what’s happened is we have a balance of power structure that our founders gave us, but what we have now in activity, both on behalf of the voters and the elected officials, is what I call parliamentary behavior. They act like it’s a parliamentary system. Congress is no longer an independent branch of government. The president’s party is an appendage of the executive branch and the minority party no longer feels they’re minority shareholder. They’re the opposition party. It’s changed the whole dynamic of the way this works and it’s not fairing very well right now. It starts with the voters. Politicians, we’re not innovators we’re followers, and they’re following the voters who are voting party, not person.
Andy Ockershausen: Tom, that is so important you say that, because I believe that whole heartedly. They’re following the country and the country can change it if they choose to. If not, we’ll keep down this road, but when the public wants to make a change, there will be a change.
Tom Davis: Yeah, I’ll just say this, they frustrate the public though because about 80% of these house districts, the only race that counts is the primary election. The general elections, just a constitutional formality.
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Tom Davis: I mean, there are no Republicans in Arlington, so it’s all about these primaries. We saw this yesterday and the races for a Commonwealth Attorney, where Soros came in and drops $1 million, and elects at least nominates the two Democrats.
Andy Ockershausen: You got a nominee out of it, right.
Tom Davis: At least in Fairfax, they filed an independent candidate file, at the last minute and he’ll probably get a Republican endorsement. You probably get some Democrats who weren’t happy, that don’t want to turn Fairfax into San Francisco, and it will be a race this November if they can raise some money.
Andy Ockershausen: Well Tom, what gives me hope that we continue with a two party system with friction because friction is a good thing, if we can elect a Republican in the city of Baltimore, God knows, we can elect one someday, important down the road. So you have two parties. You just won’t have one party.
Tom Davis: Republicans, look, we had mayors of New York. You had 20 years of Republican mayors in New York.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, yeah.
Tom Davis: Because the Democrats came in and, and started to enact what they said and it just led them down a bad path. We’ve seen this in Sutton Cleveland, we’ve seen this in Los Angeles. We see this in cities. Look, neither parties wearing a white hat here. If you don’t have a high tolerance for hypocrisy, then you probably shouldn’t be in politics.
Andy Ockershausen: Boy, that’s so true.
Whole Foods or Cracker Barrel – Democrats or Republicans – It’s a Great Country
Tom Davis: But it is a struggle. It is a struggle. Let me give you one of my favorite stories. So I always put it this way, if you live in a county with a Whole Foods, it probably voted for Hilary Clinton.
If you live in a county with a Cracker Barrel, it probably voted for Donald Trump. So I gave this speech in Arlington, this lady says, “Well, I don’t mean to correct you, Mr. Davis, but don’t you mean Crate and Barrel?” And I just, I got up, and I just said, “I rest my case. You’re, you’re in a bubble.”
Andy Ockershausen: You can’t. You can’t win that battle. He has no idea what you’re talking about.
Tom Davis: Exactly. Exactly. So anyway, that’s the world we live in. You take it as it is and you try to navigate through it.
Andy Ockershausen: Tom, I keep saying that no matter how bad things seem, ain’t it a great country?
Tom Davis: It’s a great country.
Andy Ockershausen: Tom, because you’re such a great advocate of the future, I think, because you’ve been through the past, you know what it is, you’ve seen it change, it can change back or go another way, but I always say, “Thank the good Lord for people like Tom Davis, that went into the congress and fought your battle and decided to go to something else and I appreciate that.” But those days are gone, Tom. You’re glad you’re out of it, I’m sure.
Tom Davis: Well I’m glad, but it was an important and exciting part of my life, and I’m glad I did it, and hope I left the world better.
Andy Ockershausen: It was a huge part.
Tom Davis: Hope I left it a little better than I found it.
Andy Ockershausen: Where could you have been better involved with your life than you were in the timing of when your years in Congress?
Little League Baseball Player and Clayton Kirby
Tom Davis: I think, had I been a professional baseball player I would have probably had a more impact, but I just didn’t have the talent level. I had the desire. In fact, Andy, I took batting practice with the Potomac Nationals on Saturday.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh wait, where are they? Down in the Woodbridge?
Tom Davis: Yeah. Now I’m 70 years old now, but I hit like a 67 year old, so I still had a little pop in the bat, but-
Andy Ockershausen: Do I remember the National? My friend Chuck Shepherdson in a group in Alexander, that was involved in all that years ago. Remember the Alexander Grand Stand Managers? Baseball, bring baseball back.
Tom Davis: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we have a lot of great players came out. I played little league baseball with a guy named Clayton Kirby, that spent over a decade in baseball. He played for Stewart Buick in the Arlington Little Major League and went to Swanson with him, and he pitched at WNL.
Ken Hunter: Went to WNL and played-
Tom Davis: Played for the Padres for years and the Cincinnati Reds.
Ken Hunter: Died young
Tom Davis: He did, as did John Leypoldt who was a kicker for the Buffalo Bills, who played .
Ken Hunter: I was a backup kicker for John Lyepoldt. At WNL. I didn’t get a lot of action.
Tom Davis: No, I hear you.
Andy Ockershausen: I go back to one of my favorites, was a guy named Clyde Smack Over Scott from Washington and Lee, went to the Naval Academy, but that was a long time ago. I used to do … We were bragging about Washington and Lee – George Washington football game. We’d televise live here on Channel 7 because that was high school football at its best.
Tom Davis: It was.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s gone now.
Tom Davis: They were two of the premier schools in the state at that time.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, yeah. It was great.
Tom Davis: George Washington is now a Middle school and WNL is still WNL, but it’s not Washington Lee.
Andy Ockershausen: No.
Ken Hunter: Washington something.
Tom Davis: That’s a whole different storyline.
Andy Ockershausen: Remember the Titans from Alexandria.
Tom Davis: Exactly.
Andy Ockershausen: Tom Davis, it was such a delight to have you, and to have you still in our life, and part of of what we are and what we’re doing, and thank you for doing this with the podcast because you’re still a very, very popular guy. Maybe only here, but we still remembered you.
Tom Davis: At least in this studio. Well, I’ve really, really enjoyed walking down toward memory lane and having this conversation, Andy. Thanks.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, when Janice said to me, “Tom Davis is on WMAL”, and I said, “He beat us to the punch”, yesterday, but we’re still here, and we’re still relevant, and we still care about Northern Virginia, and we care about Southern Maryland, and we care about Rockville. It’s all Our Town, Tom.
Marshall Hall Amusement Park
Tom Davis: You miss Marshall Hall, remember the old amusement park.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, my God.
Tom Davis: Okay, we can go back. That’s a conversation after the show.
Andy Ockershausen: On the boat, we used to go down there on the boat.
Tom Davis: Yeah, they had slot machines on the boat.
Andy Ockershausen: Sure. We thank you so much for doing our podcast.
Tom Davis: Thank you very much. Great to be here and nice to meet your lovely wife. You’ve done well. We may be old, but we go home to good looking wives. That’s what counts, right?
Andy Ockershausen: You think that makes a difference, old boy, does it.
Tom Davis: Exactly.
Andy Ockershausen: But Tom, you’re special to us and especially to Our Town and to our listeners. One of the ideas of this whole show, just to talk about people haven’t heard from Tom Davis in a while, haven’t heard you.
Tom Davis: Thank goodness.
Andy Ockershausen: And I’m glad that we did it.
Tom Davis: Thanks.
Andy Ockershausen: And this is Our Town. This has been a wonderful conversation.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to Our Town, Season 5, a Hometown favorite with your host Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released every Tuesday. Special thanks to Ken Hunter, our technical director, and to WMAL Radio in Washington DC. Follow Our Town on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you haven’t yet, go to Apple Podcasts and subscribe and don’t forget to rate and review our podcast. Join us next Tuesday for another Our Town conversation. Thanks so much for listening.