Born and raised in Roanoke, John learned the importance of hard work and a good education. He graduated from Patrick Henry High School, earned his college degree from Princeton and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law.
John then served in the US Marine Corps. as a Captain and JAG Office. He was later appointed as the US Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, during which time the Roanoke Times reported that he had one of the "most successful tenures of any federal prosecutor in recent years."
An active member of his community, John serves on the board of Virginia War Memorial and is a member of the Virginia Board of Veteran Services.
He and his wife, Cathye, have three children and six grandchildren. They are members of Christ Lutheran Church in Roanoke.
- Legislator of the Year from the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club (2013)
- Legislator of the Year from the Virginia Professional Firefighters (2012)
- One of the "Leaders in the Law" from Virginia Law Weekly (2012)
- Legislative Service Award from Planned Parenthood of Virginia (2012)
- Legislative Champion Award from the Virginia Crisis Intervention Team Coalition (2011)
- Legislator of the Year from the Democratic Latino Organization of Virginia (2011)
- Legislative Hero from Virginia League of Conservation Voters (2011, 2003)
- The Stamp Award for Exemplary Support of Military Families from The Virginia Council of Chapters, Military Officers Association of America (2009)
- Public Service Award from the Madison Society of Virginia Western Community College (2009)
- Public Service Award from Virginia Conference, American Association of University Professors (2009)
- Public Service Award from Southwest Virginia Psychiatric Society (2008)
- Child Advocate Award from Virginia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (2007)
- Excellence Award from Virginia First Cities Coalition (2005)
- Legislator of the Year from Child Health Investment Partnership (CHIP) (2005)
- Public Servant Award from Equality Virginia (2005)
- Friend of the Family Award from Virginia Association of Family and Consumer Services (2003)
- Child Advocate of the Year award from Virginia PTA/PTSA (2002)
- Courts of Justice
- Privileges and Elections
- Commerce and Labor; Subcommittee on Workers' Compensation, Chair
- Education and Health; Subcommittee on Health Professions
- Finance; Subcommittee on Capital Outlay, Subcommittee on Claims, Subcommittee on Education
- Rules, Chair; Subcommittee #1, Ex-Officio