Cosgrove aims to stay positive

Published 11:10 pm Friday, October 18, 2019

John Cosgrove is proud to be a conservative Republican, and he definitely has differences with Democrats on issues, but he says politics does not have to be nasty.

He cites his friendship with Democrat Lionell Spruill as an example. He said despite their political differences, the two can still go out to dinner after votes.

“Virginia has had a much more collegial atmosphere,” Cosgrove said. “That is starting to fade, unfortunately, especially with the bleed over in Virginia politics at election time. I see it getting worse each year.”

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Cosgrove, who works in construction, hopes to retain the collegiality as he seeks re-election to the state Senate in District 14.

“It doesn’t take any extra effort on anybody’s part to be nice,” Cosgrove said. “You can be polite (and) cordial.”

Cosgrove has had a long career in public service, having served on the Chesapeake City Council from 1998 to 2001 and becoming vice mayor before serving in the House of Delegates from 2002 to 2013. After winning a special election to replace the retiring Harry Blevins, he’s been serving ever since as a state senator.

“It was never my goal growing up to be in politics,” Cosgrove said.

In the state Senate, he serves on several committees — Commerce and Labor, Education and Health, Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services and Transportation. He also serves as chairman of the Virginia Joint Commission on Technology and Science.

Cosgrove describes himself as “a huge supporter of public safety,” citing Senate Bill 1030, which would add colon, brain and testicular cancers to the list of cancers presumed to be an occupational disease of firefighters covered by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. The measure must be passed again in the coming session before becoming effective.

He also said he wants to continue to try to provide teachers with raises and continue to improve the teaching environment.

Being from the Hampton Roads region, transportation is a keen interest of Cosgrove’s, and it’s in that area where he voted for his only tax increase in 2008, which he said was necessary to fund new transportation projects in the Hampton Roads region. He supported the one-cent sales tax increase — not counting food and drug sales — because of a provision in the bill that the tax revenue generated in Hampton Roads would stay in the region. The tax has helped fund the Interstate 264 interchange, an expanded High Rise Bridge and expanding Interstate 64 to three lanes to Richmond.

“Sometimes you have to do what you need to for the betterment of the region,” Cosgrove said.

Otherwise, tax increases are something he is not inclined to support.

“I’m very conservative,” Cosgrove said. “My voting record shows that. I’m concerned about taxes and about letting Virginians keep as much money as they can.”

And though there was bipartisan support for Medicaid expansion in Virginia, Cosgrove voted against it, calling it “just a huge bite out of the budget.”

“I didn’t think it was the proper fiscal thing to do,” he said.

He said he is pleased with his campaign, which just received the endorsement of the Virginia Farm Bureau’s AgPAC. It has raised $90,620 this year, with all 99 contributions being at least $100.

“We’re doing everything we can,” Cosgrove said. “No negative stuff out there. I don’t like negative politics. It’s not my style. I prefer to run on my record, and hope that anybody else running does the same thing.”