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Holly Leigh Davis’s life has been a whirlwind of adventure.

Davis grew up in Citrus County, graduated from Crystal River High School, got her degree at the University of Texas in Austin, lived in numerous states and is currently the owner and creative director of the Horsefly Group, which provides marketing and strategies to businesses.

Her father is Tom Davis, an icon at the Crystal River Airport whose Crystal Aero Group operated the county-owned airport for decades.

Holly Leigh Davis mug

Holly Leigh Davis, Republican candidate for county commission District 5

Davis returned to Citrus in 2011, left, and returned again two years ago because it’s where she wants to reside.

“I keep coming back, because I absolutely love this county,” the Citrus Hills woman said.

Now Davis is hoping to take that affection for Citrus County to the political stage.

Davis on Friday announced her campaign for county commission District 5. The Republican is running her first political campaign.

Davis said the county government lacks vision.

“Contrast how well Inverness has pulled itself together. Crystal River is well on its way,” she said. “I haven’t seen the same forward looking thinking and planning by the county. We need a master plan and execute it.”

Although official ballot qualifying is still six months away, Davis’s candidacy offers the first challenger for an incumbent.

Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith, who was elected four years ago in District 3, is running in District 5 with the decision of incumbent Brian Coleman to not run again this year. Commissioner Jeff Kinnard is thus far unopposed in his District 1 re-election campaign.

Though they must reside in their districts, commissioners are elected by voters countywide.

Davis said she knows what the county needs to succeed economically: infrastructure, a well-rounded educational system, proper zoning and marketing.

“If you have those four things, you should be able to attract new businesses,” she said.

Davis said Citrus County has plenty to offer.

“After living in 10 states, the people here are amazing,” she said. “This is a true community. We have an amazing natural resource here. It’s just a fabulous place to live.”

Davis acknowledged she has plenty to learn on the campaign trail.

“I’m not afraid to say I don’t know,” she said. “But I’ll find the answer and give you the best recommendation.”

Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com.

(16) comments

Bell-Man

No love loss for Jimmie Smith here, like the rest of our commissioners he has not done much for Citrus County. He spends more time supporting Trump than he does working for us. Nice to see someone who loves this place ( and a woman) running for office. We need someone who can tackle issues like garbage collection, boat ramps, and street repairs. The rest of our current commissioners are worthless.

lancel44

I also want to add to what I said. This county has 37% democrats and 26% independents. So you have more than half the county not represented which is frankly ridiculous. The republican party is a mess with corruption , and they all follow the most corrupt president in history that has been impeached. It's time we had some democrats in office , instead of business as usual.

Bell-Man

Great point about putting some democrats in office, cannot see where having all republicans has done this county any good especially when you have people like and Kitchen.

lancel44

I won't vote for another loser republican. This county is full of do nothing republicans.

thibler

Holly Davis, although I am a registered Democrat I'm very excited about what you may bring to our county. You said alot when pointed out that the cities of Inverness and Crystal River have pulled themselves together with forward thinking and planning. I have a feeling you can create the same for the county.

GWalsh

That word "infrastructure" scares me. Sounds like a lot of concrete to be poured on behalf of developers, not the people who live here.

HollyD

You don’t have to worry about that from me - I grew up here and am a nature-loving person. “Infrastructure” includes a lot more than just roads/concrete, and getting the right kind of business growth, not indiscriminate growth, will benefit us all. Executed correctly, it will preserve what we love about living here.

rnwtsar

Nice to see a county commsioner candidate who reads and responds to county newspaper articles.

ANNP

This is some of the most exciting news surrounding the upcoming election!! Your assessment of the community is right on the money!!! A cohesive plan is currently lacking, and we are quickly losing “the nature coast” to untamed fast-food and gas station businesses! The unincorporated areas of the county are swiftly deteriorating, and it is shameful. A major issue of interest to so many of us includes the lack of cable and internet service, with little to no adequate competition, especially in the south-western part of the county (Sugarmill Woods for one!). I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to the repaving of residential roads (again, look to Sugarmill Woods)! Good luck to you!!

HollyD

Thank you... Ann I presume? And thank you to the other well-wishers, I appreciate it. I am drinking from a fire hose right now, as you might imagine. A lot to read, learn and digest.

Ssabmud

As much as I'm sure your heart is in this, HollyD, Citrus County will continue to suffer under the grip of the current GOP. There is nothing in the current GOP conduct that indicates any changes that would actually benefit the people. Hopefully you are not part of this GOP. As you can tell by the comments, people of Citrus County would like to see something happen in Citrus County that goes beyond just 'the party'.

DandyCandy535

If Ms Davis will be running against Jimmie T Workshy .... That can only be good!

equinn

People come to the Nature Coast because it is just that. We need a politician who isn't going to keep make changes for business at the expense of paradise, at the expense of our ecosystem. No more concrete!

SHC

Exactly.

Henhouse

Mr. Smith is short sighted. New blood in the county is just what we need. I am sick of the same ole' same ole'. Good luck Mrs. Davis and I hope to hear much more about you in the future. May the best person win.

booevegeo

Technically, Jimmie T. is not the incumbent. Glad he has a challenger either way though.

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