Public Official Spotlight: Valerie Bradford Davis, Probate Judge, Clarke County

valerie_davis_2011Clarke County is considered “ground zero” for the timber industry in Alabama and thankfully we have a public official there that “gets it.”

Judge Valerie Bradford Davis was appointed as Probate Judge for Clarke County in 2009 by then Governor Bob Riley. She served out her appointed term and then ran successfully for election becoming the first Republican elected to serve as Probate Judge in Clarke County in 100 years.

Judge Davis grew up in Scyrene, a small community 15 miles east of Grove Hill. She is the daughter of Calvin and Terri Bradford, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and graduated with honors from The University of Mobile with a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is married to Tommy Davis, a Semmes, Alabama firefighter and they have two children, Jay and Grace.

So what caught our attention about Judge Davis?

The Clarke County Commission had indicated that they were going to consider adopting a timber logging ordinance during their April 22, 2014 meeting. Becoming aware of this, Judge Davis, the daughter of a logger, recognized the negative impact such an ordinance might have on the local timber industry.

Using her public stature, Judge Davis immediately contacted the Alabama Forestry Association and sought our assistance in preparing and sending a letter to Clarke County timberland owners informing them of the Commission’s activities. Without her involvement and diligence, the Commission may have moved forward with the ordinance.

Because of her leadership efforts, the Commission did not adopt a logging ordinance.

She understands that timber is the primary economic engine for Clarke County. She knows that the citizens of Clarke County will suffer if the timber industry is negatively impacted. Protecting the citizens of Clarke County is part of her job responsibilities and she takes this responsibility seriously. Regardless of political party, regardless of the consequences, she put the citizens first. It is not easy to challenge the power structure, especially when you are in the public spotlight. But this did not stand in her way.

The Clarke County Commission is composed of five commissioners. The chairmanship rotates every nine months. The Commission meets every second and fourth Tuesday at 9:00 am in the Annex Building of the Clarke County Courthouse in the Commissioner’s Courtroom located at 114 Court Street, Grove Hill.

Judge Davis has committed to attend all future meetings of the Commission to ensure that a logging ordinance doesn’t get addressed. We need to help her. We need our members to be organized and to participate in the process as well.

We also need to take a few minutes to call Judge Davis and express our appreciation for her service and attention to our industry. Judge Davis’ office number is 251-275-3251. I am sure that she would appreciate hearing from you.

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