The Man Behind the Mayor
A candid sit-down discussion with Kevin Davis.
Maichina Veri, August 30, 2022 // Brantford, OntarioThe current mayor of Brantford, Kevin Davis. Photo credit Paul Smith, Photohouse Studio.
DISCLAIMER: The aim of this article is to provide a non-political perspective on our community’s mayor, Kevin Davis. Our goal is to show the man behind the mayor. We believe we provided an accessible, unbiased perspective on Kevin Davis based on our personal conversation with him. Like all of our BTOWN features, we focus on the individual and the story they provide to us.
Early on a Friday morning, BTOWN rolls into a modern and modest subdivision in Echo Place. In a quiet corner rests the destination, and, after knocking on the door, we are greeted kindly by Lisa Davis, dog in arm, who leads us through to the kitchen. In the kitchen, we are offered ice water by a tall, well-spoken and astute man. He mentions how he doesn’t like talking about himself, but the next hour has been set aside for this reason, and he obliges. Through his thoughtful and honest answers, BTOWN would like to introduce you to the man behind the mayor. Presenting: Kevin Davis.
Kevin Davis in conversation with BTOWN. Photo credit Paul Smith, Photohouse Studio.
Self-described as motivated, disciplined, honest, determined and a hard worker with integrity, Kevin is a person who likes to test himself in risky conditions. As an avid outdoor athlete, engaging in solo activities such as rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking, scuba diving and fly fishing, the mayor is a bit of an adrenaline junkie. These sports have a healthy and useful impact on Kevin’s life. To succeed at these activities, one needs to understand the environment, observe, concentrate, anticipate issues and problem solve – all skills that help in politics. “I think that’s actually helped me as a politician and as a lawyer, having been, when I was younger, in some really extreme situations and learning to keep yourself calm and not let anxiety take you away,” Kevin analyzes. With a mind for overcoming extreme situations, it comes as no surprise that Kevin pulls inspiration from everyday people who find themselves in difficult circumstances and who persevere.
"With a mind for overcoming extreme situations, it comes as no surprise that Kevin pulls inspiration from everyday people who find themselves in difficult circumstances and who persevere."
Kevin mentions politicians Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill as two leaders that inspire him due to what they overcame, their courage and fortitude and their efforts at trying to keep their countries together in struggling times. That being said, Kevin speaks about local individuals in Brantford who have made a significant impact on him. The first was a centenarian in Eagle Place who had lived during the Great Depression. She had requested a certificate from the mayor for her 100th birthday, which Kevin hand delivered, and the two had an important conversation regarding the stories of this woman’s life. The second was a young lady at W. Ross Macdonald School. Kevin was visiting the school after an invitation was extended to him by a student, and this student introduced Kevin to her classmates and her closest friend who only had the senses of touch and smell. When Kevin travels to schools, he brings the Chain of Office, and this time was no exception. Kevin describes the interaction between the student and himself by saying, “We put it (the Chain of Office) on the desk in front of her and I sat down beside her, and then I put my hand on her hand and we’d go to each of the emblems and trace them. I described to the teacher’s aide what it was and the teacher’s aide would sign into her hand what it was we were looking at. Just the look of joy on her face – I almost started to cry. I’m sure it was a highlight for her in her life, but for me – it had a huge impact on me.” Kevin was inspired by this girl because, despite the challenges this young student faces, she was happy with lots of friends and she persevered with her intelligence and determination.
A sunny smile captured in the moment. Photo credit Paul Smith, Photohouse Studio.
It’s obvious as the conversation continues that Kevin has a passion for the city and the people in it. Kevin calls Brantford “unique” and says it has a “terrific and interesting” history, one rich in athletics and military among other things. When he first became involved in the community, it wasn’t in a leadership role, but rather as a volunteer. Eventually he served on boards in organizations where he learned leadership abilities and found he had a “knack for leading,” but volunteering was personally rewarding. “When you’re volunteering, what you end up getting out of it is not monetary, obviously, but it’s a sense of satisfaction, a sense of contribution and just a sense of feeling good about yourself and your community that you really don’t get from other things,” he says. For others interested in becoming involved with their community, especially young folks, Kevin suggests getting involved in some level with a group, organization or activity that intrigues you and “giving something of yourself” to that group or activity. He goes on to say, “You’ll find just the act of volunteering will motivate you.” Kevin also recommends getting involved in a political party and calls it “fun” as well as a “fascinating process.”
"He would like to look back on his career with pride and satisfaction and see that he achieved his number one objective: making Brantford the best it can possibly be, and getting the city ready for tomorrow."
When all is said and done, Kevin hopes to serve one more term as mayor before slowing down and spending time with his family and grandchildren. He would like to look back on his career with pride and satisfaction and see that he achieved his number one objective: making Brantford the best it can possibly be, and getting the city ready for tomorrow. He would like to leave a personal legacy of integrity, determination, hard work and focus. In terms of what Kevin hopes to leave behind as mayor, he says, “Brantford is a very determined town. We’ve faced lots of adversity and we’ve overcome it. I like to think my legacy will be that I carefully assessed the challenges and opportunities our community faces in an effort to make it an even better community and, that in many ways, succeeded.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maichina Veri is a writer based in Brantford, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Montreal’s Concordia University and has a background in Journalism – Print from Niagara College.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Paul Smith has been shooting photos professional for the past eleven years. After graduating from Applied Photography at Sheridan College in 2008 he returned to Brantford and opened Photohouse Studios with his partner.