Former House speaker Jo Ann Davidson remains GOP guardian

A miniature silver-barreled cannon sits on the corner of Jo Ann Davidson’s desk in her Downtown office.

The cannon is aimed at the door, she says, on purpose.

“I figure it sends a certain signal. It’s sort of a message for whoever walks in.”

Not so much a threatening message — although Davidson is known as “the velvet hammer” — as a metaphor for a woman whose remarkable life and career have been aimed at protecting the good of the order.

Here sits, the cannon says, a sentry for tradition, protectorate of honor, decorum, conciliation, hard work and progress.

As commission chairwoman, Davidson, who had voted against the casinos, established a regulatory process from scratch. “I didn’t like casinos and I didn’t vote for them, but it was a unique experience to set up a commission from nothing,” she said. 

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