Incumbent Braddock Supervisor
Town of residence: Kings Park
Family: Wife: Valerie. Children: Jessica, Sarah, Amanda, Laura, Andrew, Steven.
Education: BA, Gettysburg College, 1985; JD, George Washington University, 1988
Offices held, dates: Braddock Supervisor, 2009-present.
Occupation and relevant experience: Practicing attorney, 25 years.
Community involvement: Kings Park Civic Association president, 3 years. Kings Park/Kings Glen PTA VP, 2 years. FCPS Committee on Adult and Community Education, 3 years. BRYC coach, 2 years. Active in church.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter handle: @johncookva
Name three favorite endorsements: Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Fairfax County Government Employees Union, Fairfax League of Conservation Voters.
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
Ensuring our Braddock neighborhoods stay safe and vibrant has always been, and will always be my first priority. That means helping our community organizations, such as civic and homeowners associations, so they have the knowledge and resources necessary to work amongst themselves to improve their individual communities. I have trained over 200 community leaders through our neighborhood college programs and meet regularly with our community leaders to provide guidance and assistance. Our communities matter because that is where we live, and our communities are the sum total of the effort we as citizens put into them.
What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?
I have proven myself as someone who cares about our community. Working with Chairman Bulova on our Diversion First program, we are seeking to provide treatment instead of incarceration for those who commit nonviolent crimes arising out of mental illness. Together with county staff and non-profit organizations I have led on the issue of Domestic and Sexual Violence awareness and prevention. I also have a record of working with people to get things done. The joint Supervisors-School Board Infrastructure Financing Committee, which I served as co-chair, developed a plan that has generated additional funds for school renovations, realized through reprioritization of money, not additional taxes. As Chair of the VRE Operations Board, I am continually working with regional leaders to improve our long-term transportation options.
More than half of the county budget is devoted to the local school system. A significant budget gap looms for the next budget cycle, both for FCPS and Fairfax County. What are the top county priorities and how will you assure funding and manage the budget? What ideas do you have for increasing revenue? Name two areas/items you would cut or reduce.
I believe we should increase the transfer to our schools to four percent a year, an increase of what is currently being proposed by the County Executive. To achieve this, I would hold county-side spending to two percent. Given that our employee compensation and many vendor contracts cost three percent more each year, that means most other county spending will need to stay near current levels. I would increase funding for mental health and public safety and hold other departments near level. We need to find the funds for those increases through our lines of business review. This series of 12 full-day meetings next January through March will look in detail at the budgets of each agency. I believe we should use that process to find necessary savings.
How many hours a week of outside employment do you anticipate while serving on the Board of Supervisors?
Hard work is never easy and sometimes sacrifices are required. Often that means giving up the bulk of my personal time, and on occasion it means not spending as much time with my family as I’d prefer, but I always make sure to put into the job of supervisor all the time and attention it needs. I am one of the most active Supervisors in the county, hosting meetings and spearheading community initiatives across the District on a regular basis, while offering great and responsive constituent service. That’s where my focus is and I believe that’s where it should be.