Aug. 19—EDITOR'S NOTE — This is the second of several articles profiling candidates running in the November special election for the District 5 seat on Milledgeville City Council.
Oscar Davis Jr. is one of five candidates vying to fill the unexpired term of the late Richard "Boo" Mullins Jr. on Milledgeville City Council.
Mullins, who served on city council for 22 years, unexpectedly died in April.
A special election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 8 to fill the vacancy.
The 72-year-old Davis, a two-tour Army combat veteran in Vietnam, was the first candidate to officially qualify for the District 5 city council seat.
"I was born and raised here in Milledgeville and I've always wanted the best for the city of Milledgeville and the people who live here," Davis said during a Monday morning interview with The Union-Recorder. "Nobody knows the fifth district like I do."
Politics has long been a way of life in the Davis family. Oscar Davis Jr.'s father, the late Oscar Davis Sr., was a businessman and the first Black man to hold elected office on the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners. After his death, his wife, the late Geneva Bell Davis, filled her husband's unexpired term on the county commission. Later the Davises' daughter, Emily, succeeded her parents in serving in that same seat. She remains a member of the county commission.
"I've been surrounded by politics my whole life," said Oscar Jr. "I've always been interested in public office."
He said before he made the decision to become a candidate for the District 5 seat, he talked the idea over with his mother before she passed away.
"She said if you want to run, then run," Davis said. "And I talked with my sister, Emily, and she said, go ahead."
Davis said he received support from his entire family before qualifying.
He said he prides himself in being able to talk with people of all ages.
"I want to make a difference and I want the people of Milledgeville to know that when I'm elected that I will serve the entire city — not just District 5," Davis said. "I want the people to know that their concerns will become my concerns."
Davis recalled running against Mullins for the same city council seat when Mullins ran the first time.
Davis' bid to win election was unsuccessful.
Davis has been involved in helping manage political campaigns over the years — both locally and in surrounding counties.
He and the late Washington County Sheriff Thomas Smith were friends.
"When Thomas first ran for sheriff, I was one of his campaign managers," Davis said. "He and I were very close."
After graduating from high school, Davis said he was encouraged by his mother to enroll at Georgia Military College.
That experience led him to a job working as a firefighter at Central State Hospital. He worked there for about nine months before he was drafted into the Army.
Davis served six years in the Army and left with a rank of sergeant. During his time in Vietnam, he received three stars for his involvement in the Tet Offensive, which was a major escalation and one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War.
"I really saw a rough time in Vietnam," Davis said. "When I went to Vietnam, I was just 19 years old."
After his military service, Davis returned to his hometown and re-enrolled at Georgia Military College where he studied criminal justice.
Afterward, Davis said he and his dad purchased some property on the southside of Milledgeville off Caraker Avenue where they operated a business together for several years.
Davis later went to work as an officer with the Georgia Department of Corrections where he remained for 15 years. He retired from the state with the rank of sergeant.
"I worked at the liquor store during the daytime and at the prison at night," Davis recalled.
In 1977, while still holding down two jobs, Davis was given the opportunity to play semi-pro football with the Macon Chiefs.
"I played with the Chiefs for four years," Davis said.
It was a sport he had played and excelled in while attending Boddie High School in Milledgeville.
After leaving football, he returned to his job at the prison. He also continued to work at the liquor store.
Davis later worked at People's Funeral Home, which he and his father purchased the funeral home. Davis attended mortuary school in Atlanta and later settled into managing the funeral home for the next 30 years.
Davis is a member of the American Legion Post No. 523. He also is a Prince Hall Mason.