Chief Political Correspondent Mark Davis retires after more than 3 decades with News 8

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8 is sending warm wishes to Mark Davis, who announced on Monday that he is retiring from broadcast journalism after more than 50 years.

Davis, a multi-Emmy Award-winning Chief Political Correspondent, worked for News 8 for nearly 37 years.

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“Labor Day of 1966 was the first time I stepped foot in a broadcasting station, and I still enjoy this business every day,” he once told News 8. “I got my first real job on the radio in the summer of 1967 while still in college…holy smokes!”

Davis took a leave of absence in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While he and his wife, Betsy, are in good health, Davis said he sees “no safe path back to work” due to his age and has decided to retire.

During his departure, Davis thanked his co-workers and viewers for their support and interest over the years.

“I would like to thank my co-workers past and present, and especially Photographer Joe Sferrazza for helping me look good (in many ways) over the past 36 years. Most of all I would like to thank the viewers for their continued support over the decades.”

Davis kept his upbeat and humorous attitude, even while sharing the somber news.

“On a personal note, for the first time in more than 50 years, I was able to stay home on election night and watch a movie. It was great!”

Mark is a legend. He is the dean of politics. What an amazing career and body of work. We, at News 8, are grateful for his effort, passion and commitment for the last 37 years and wish him and his family health, safety and happiness in the years ahead.

WTNH Vice President and General Manager Rich Graziano says

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Davis came to Connecticut in 1980 from the Boston area where he had been an award-winning radio news director and talk show host for more than 10 years. He spent several years covering the Massachusetts State Capitol in the early 1970s and was an administrative assistant to the Massachusetts State Senate.

He co-hosted the state’s first Saturday morning news/information/magazine program, “Good Morning Connecticut,” and has filled several anchor slots on various editions of News 8. For most of the 1980s, he could also be heard on the highest-rated weeknight radio call-in program in Connecticut, “Dial Mark Davis” on WTIC AM.

Some questioned Davis’ switch to TV.

“My news director says, ‘We’re bringing in Mark Davis,’ and I said, ‘He’s a radio talk show host; he doesn’t know how to do TV,'” Diane Smith, a former News 8 anchor, recalled. However, she said he learned fast.

“He has held so many politicians’ feet to the fire, it’s astonishing. Yet they all respect him.”

One of the promotional segments touted the veteran newsman as, “Action News 8’s Mark Davis isn’t always a welcome sight to politicians.”

Davis always had the first question at a press conference — a sign of his grit.

That toughness spanned several administrations from governors Ella Grasso, William O’Neil, Lowell Weicker, where Davis was in the thick of it — especially, the day of the big tax rally at the Capitol when Weicker tried to get into his car. Davis also covered governors John Rowland, Jodi Rell, Dannel Malloy and now Ned Lamont.

Davis was first to report what many consider Connecticut’s biggest political story of the decade: The resignation of Governor Rowland in June of 2004.

Always by his side capturing the story, photographer extraordinaire, Joe Sferrazza. That team will never be the same.

RELATED: Mark Davis Celebrates 50 Years in Broadcasting with a Facebook Q&A

Before he left, he was covering groundbreaking issues in the state such as the “trucks only” toll plan and the debate surrounding religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations in Connecticut schools.

The hallowed halls of the State Capitol will not be the same without our friend covering politics, co-worker Jodi Latina said.

He was voted best local TV reporter in the state two years in a row by the readers of “Connecticut Magazine.”

Governor Lamont said Davis’ retirement meant Connecticut was “losing a titan in journalism.”

More about Davis’ personal interests and hobbies can be found under this station biography.

While News 8 is sad to see him go, we’re wishing him the best of luck on his next journey. Thanks for nearly 40 wonderful years!

News 8’s “Capitol Report” Producer Jon Rosen spent several campaign cycles with Davis traveling to New Hampshire for the presidential primaries and beyond.

“After all these years that I’ve worked with him, I have no idea where he stands on the political spectrum. That’s what makes him a great reporter…he truly was someone who showed no bias in his reporting.”

Bob Picozzi, who was a sportscaster at News 8 from 1977-97, said, in part, of Davis on social media, “He is the epitome of a journalist. He demonstrated every day that info generated by well-developed, connected, and reliable sources is NOT Fake News. He wasn’t the Enemy of the American people. He was a newsman…one who ran circles around his competition and earned the undying respect of his colleagues, his competitors, and the individuals he covered…”

Davis even received warm wishes from Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz. 

 As well as United States Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) also released a statement on Davis’ retirement:

“Mark Davis is a powerhouse political reporter who has served as a trusted source of news for decades. In all my years at the Capitol, Mark has always worked incredibly hard and pursued the facts to share with his viewers. He played an integral role in getting information from state government to the public, asking the tough questions, and bringing the truth to the people. It became tradition at the Capitol that Mark would ask the first question at any press conference he attended, which speaks to the respect he held in the building. I know he will be deeply missed by his colleagues, his viewers and by all those at the Capitol who came to know him over the years. I wish him and his family all the best in retirement.

CT Attorney General William Tong also extended his congratulations to Davis on Monday afternoon:

“Congratulations to Mark Davis on his retirement. Mark has always been very kind to me and generous with his time. He never pulled his punches and I expected tough questions from him. As a thoughtful and thorough journalist, Mark always gave me the time and space to discuss and explain my approach to often complex legal and public policy issues. Plus, he’s usually good for a funny quip or sarcastic aside, which always put me at ease, especially in a tense or difficult moment. Mark was also an invaluable resource, having seen it all in Connecticut politics. I often asked him what he thought of a particular situation, and he would offer some meaningful insight or perspective. I want to thank Mark for his decades-long service to our state and wish him all the best in his next chapter.”

Representative John B. Larson (CT-01) also released a statement following the announcement of Davis’s retirement:

“Mark Davis has been a legend in political journalism in Connecticut over the course of my career. He asked the tough questions but was always fair, forthright, and focused. I wish him and his wife Betsy the best as he begins his retirement.”

On Wednesday, Senator Richard Blumenthal included a tribute to Davis in Wednesday’s official congressional record. It reads, in part, “Mark’s outstanding and reliable work leaves a remarkable legacy on Connecticut journalism.”

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