Q&A with State Representative Muffy Davis

Muffy Davis

State Representative | Idaho

Muffy DavisTell us about your background. What are the experiences, including education, that make up the person you currently are?

I am a graduate of Stanford University, a person with a disability from a ski racing accident when I was 16 years old. I am a 7-time Paralympic medalist in 2 sports and currently serve on the International Paralympic Committee’s Governing Board, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s board of Directors, and the LA28 Organizing Committee’s Executive Committee, as well as several IOC Commissions. I am a mother of a 12-year-old daughter and my husband is a recreational therapist. I have worked as a speaker for 20+ years, worked in philanthropy and development, and just recently started a non-profit here in Idaho for young women in sport.

What was your trigger moment and why this specific office?

After the 2016 election when my then 7-year-old daughter began crying when she learned who won the presidential election because she had heard the rhetoric about all the undocumented or Latino people being sent away. I told her “no” that wasn’t going to happen and then I got involved locally with our Indivisible chapter. From there, someone planted a seed in me to run for legislative office, as no other democrat was running for this seat, and I decided to throw my hat in the ring. I knew it had primarily been held by a Democrat, but we had lost the seat for the past 3 elections. I knew we could flip it back and we did!

What made you feel qualified to run for office?

I believe that my boss is the people. I feel that I am a good listener and do my best to be accessible and available to the people I represent. I have always been a leader and enjoy representing and speaking on behalf of others, which I figured was an important part of the job.

Do you work full-time or part-time?

It’s considered part-time, we are in session part of the year, but we really work full time to do the job correctly and meet the needs of our constituents.

Most people don’t know what their elected official does on a daily basis. What’s a typical day looking like for you?

There is no such thing as a typical day, but tasks that my job entails when we are not in session are emails, meeting with elected leaders in my district, meeting with constituents to go over issues they are having, connecting constituents to departments to help solve their problems, writing letters on behalf of constituents, attending conferences to learn about current or emerging issues, trending topics and learning how to better do my job. I am always also working on possible new legislation to introduce, reaching out to other legislators who might have similar interests, attending interim committee meetings. Additionally, we are expected to attend and participate in many local social functions and events, like parades, fairs, etc… which is quite time-consuming, considering I have 11 parades in my district each summer. When we are in session, I am working with my colleagues to either introduce or oppose various pieces of legislation, working on debates, meeting with lobbyists, and still doing much of the other work that we do when out of session.

Additionally, they might not know what their elected official is responsible for. What is your role in comparison to other elected offices on your level?

My jurisdiction is with state statutes and state law, which in turn affects our local leaders and their roles and ability to successfully do their jobs. I try to work closely with my local elected leaders because much of the legislation we pass directly affects them. We generally work with the big picture and local jurisdiction fine-tunes those rules for what works best for them. Additionally, our job is to balance our state budget and approve rules and regulations for state departments.

What do you think people would be surprised to know someone in your position does?

I think people are surprised to learn that I do not have any staff, when we are in session we have attaches to help, but they are for our whole caucus. When we are out of session, I am responsible for reading and answering all my own emails, responding to all my messages, doing research, etc.

What are 3-5 skills needed to be successful in the elected office you served in/are currently serving in?

Multi-tasking, good listener, ability to work with others with different views, networking, and fundraising.

What’s the best part about serving in elected office?

I enjoy being able to help my constituents with their issues or problems, such as unemployment, health care issues, housing, etc.

What has been the accomplishment you’re most proud of while in office?

Helping bring to light and to the public the terrible behavior and practices of our state legislature this past session.

In terms of finances, how much money did you have to raise for your campaign?

The first time I ran I raised $85,000. This last time I didn’t have an opponent, so I didn’t have to raise nearly as much.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who’s thinking about running for the position you serve/have served in their community?

Definitely reach out to those who are currently serving in the position you are considering running for and ask them to give you an honest and real analysis of the time commitment, not just to do the job but all the additional things that are expected from elected officials, like parades, campaigning, fundraising, etc.