Rep. Don Davis is a true champion of electric cooperatives, North Carolina’s co-op leaders say. And it’s no wonder.

Not only does Davis represent members of more than a half-dozen co-ops in the state’s 1st Congressional District, he also grew up on co-op lines and is still a member of Pitt & Greene Electric Membership Corp.

“He’s a local Greene County guy who has done well,” says Jay Rouse, government affairs director for North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives. “We couldn’t ask for a better legislator. He’s just awesome.”

Davis, a Democrat, was elected to Congress in 2022 to fill the seat of retired Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield, who served in the House for 18 years. Before coming to Congress, Davis served six terms in the state Senate, where he supported legislation that helped electric co-ops, Rouse says.

Davis co-sponsored the Electric Co-op Rural Broadband Services bill, which made it easier for co-ops to offer high-speed internet services in areas where service was poor or unavailable.

He also supported legislation to create commonsense standards for electric vehicle charging stations operated by third parties. And he voted for a bill that created a special lineworker appreciation license plate, with proceeds from the sale of the plates going to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center.

“He’s been a strong supporter for broadband deployment and infrastructure improvements of all types,” Rouse says. “He’s just great on all our issues.”

The freshman congressman drew applause from co-op leaders at NRECA’s 2023 Legislative Conference when he appeared on a panel with a Republican freshman, Rep. Juan Ciscomani of Arizona, to talk about the importance of bipartisanship.

The two lawmakers said they were frustrated by the fierce partisan divide in Congress and wanted to work together as members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.

“There’s too much extremism, and it comes from both sides—let’s be honest about it,” Davis told co-op leaders at the conference.

Davis represents a swing district where bipartisanship is key.

“The congressman is very sincere about working across the aisle,” Rouse says. “He’s as honest a legislator as I have ever met. I just can’t brag on him enough.”

Davis, 52, was born in the small town of Snow Hill, North Carolina, and was elected its mayor at the age of 29. He served as mayor for seven years before being elected to the state Senate.

As a young man, Davis worked in the tobacco fields and attended the same church where he now serves as a minister, according to his official biography.

“He understands agriculture and economic development in rural America,” Rouse says.

In Congress, Davis serves on the House Agriculture Committee, which is working to craft a new five-year Farm Bill and has jurisdiction over Department of Agriculture programs that help co-ops deploy broadband service and invest in infrastructure improvements and rural economic development.

“He’s always seeking our input,” Rouse says. “He always has time for us.”

The congressman says that “cooperatives have played a pivotal role in shaping America into what it is today.”

“I love that they’re community-driven and focus on meeting local needs, from broadband to EVs to economic development,” Davis says. “Our co-ops are building a brighter future for families in eastern North Carolina and nationwide, and that’s why I’m a proud member.”

In addition to the Agriculture Committee, Davis serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Problem Solvers Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition, where he serves as vice chairman of the Farm Bill Task Force.