Wall of Honor inductee entered politics soon after SVHS graduation

Greg Davids
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Greg Davids, who represents District 28B in the Minnesota House of Representatives, has been chosen as the 2019 Kingsland Wall of Honor award recipient to be recognized during a ceremony and reception on Friday, Nov. 1.

Davids grew up on a farm in Sumner Township, north of Spring Valley, and attended Spring Valley Public Schools throughout his educational career, graduating from Spring Valley High School in 1976.  From there, he attended Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, and transferred to Winona State University, obtaining his bachelor of science degree in 1979 and finishing his graduate work at Minnesota State University in Mankato. 

After he received his four-year degree, he taught school in Nebraska for one year and two years in Ellendale – from 1980 to 1982. In 1982, he started with Farm Bureau, selling insurance with financial planning being the biggest part of the business. He has lived in Preston since 1982 when he started with Farm Bureau. 

He and his wife, Bonnie, own his parents’ family farm in Sumner Township where he grew up. They have three daughters and five grandsons “who are a lot of fun,” Davids said.  He has one sister in South Carolina, one in Texas and one in Nebraska.

He became involved in politics early in his life, eventually being elected as House representative of the district that now encompasses Fillmore and Houston counties in 1991.  He has served in the state House of Representatives for 14 non-consecutive terms. 

He began his political journey as part of his precinct caucus first in 1978 and then was elected as a state delegate. He became party-ranked treasurer, vice chairman and chairman of Fillmore County’s Republicans.  Davids has also served on Preston City Council and was mayor before he was elected state representative.

In the Legislature, he has been on the Commerce, Ways and Means, Ag and Tax committees, and has served as speaker pro-tem. 

“Some of my accomplishments there have been when different school districts built, the ethanol plant, the veterans cemetery, and now the state level veterans home in Fillmore County,” Davids said. “I’ve worked very hard on veterans’ issues because veterans’ issues are very important to me.” 

Davids, who spends his free time golfing and working on the farm, is a member of Autumn Ridge Church in Rochester, past president of the Preston Lions Club, and he counts his service as a legislator as one of his achievements. 

“It’s just such an honor to be able to serve people who live in Fillmore and Houston counties,” he said. “It’s great to serve them, and I try to be a problem-solver.  A lot of times, they get problems that are pretty big problems that they can’t solve on their own, so I enjoy serving people and helping others.” 

He’s received recognition from various organizations, including awards from Farm Bureau, Farmer’s Union and Education Minnesota. He was also recognized by an educational institution in addition to Kingsland as he was named Distinguished Alumni at Winona State University. “My name is on a plaque on the wall alongside the names of past winners at Thompson Hall at Winona State, and that’s quite an honor,” he said.

The legislator was active in several Spring Valley High School extracurricular activities, including band, choir, small groups, football, wrestling and track. 

“I have very fond memories of the Spring Valley school system.  I had some wonderful teachers, very strong teachers – Ascheman, the Potthoffs, Shirley Gangstad, Kappers, Cleveland, Reps, the Baulers – amazing teachers and amazing people who helped shape my life and encouraged me,” he said. “We were from a very poor farm family, and I look at public schools and the opportunities everyone had.  There were great opportunities for everyone, and I have very fond memories.”

Davids never expected to return to his hometown school in this capacity.

“I didn’t expect this or see it coming, and when I was notified, it was extremely humbling,” he said. “I’m excited to get back to see old friends on Nov. 1. Different people have called or e-mailed me, folks I haven’t seen in quite a while.  Whoever shows up, we’ll have a good time.”

As is customary, Davids will give an address to those who have chosen him for the Wall of Honor recognition.

“I’ll be speaking about what the area and Spring Valley High School have done for me.  It’ll be a speech about gratitude and thankfulness,” he said.

However, he also notes that he is thankful for many things in his life since high school graduation and will continue to honor the ideals of the Wall of Honor.

“I want people to know that I’m still working hard for them in legislative matters, and that I’m very blessed to have clients to work for in financial planning, and I hope to keep working for everybody,” he said.