About John


John Vihstadt was elected as an Independent to the Arlington County Board in the April 8, 2014, special election to complete the unexpired term of Chris Zimmerman. He was re-elected on November 4, 2014, to a full year term.  These two successful elections in one year demonstrated voters’ desire in neighborhoods throughout the County for a fresh perspective and balance on the County Board.

In 1981, he first rented at 2121 Columbia Pike, then purchased in Arlington Village, a townhouse enclave off South Barton Street and Columbia Pike. While on the Pike, he was active in the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) and was elected President of the Arlington Village Condominium Board of Directors.

John also began his County-wide involvement in the 80’s, with service over the next several decades on the Advisory Commission on Aging, the Housing Commission and the Planning Commission. John also served on the board of Community Residences, Inc., which administers local group homes for the mentally disabled and mentally ill. A believer in historic preservation and the importance of our built environment, John is a longtime member and former officer of the Arlington Historical Society. He also served on the Board and is a three-time program speaker at the Arlington Committee of 100.

Most recently, John was asked to chair the County’s new Task Force on Urban Agriculture, where he worked as a consensus-building leader on topics ranging from expansion of community gardens to nutrition education, county-wide composting and related green and sustainable initiatives.

After moving to the Tara-Leeway Heights neighborhood in 1989, John was elected to the Board and then served as president of the Tara-Leeway Heights Civic Association. He helped lead neighborhood discussions with Arlington Hospital (now Virginia Hospital Center) to mitigate concerns over parking, traffic and other consequences of the facility’s renovation and expansion. A longtime delegate to the Arlington County Civic Federation, John was elected chair of the Executive Committee in June 2013.


While raising two sons, Jack and Ben, with his wife Mary, John plunged into PTA activities, first at Tuckahoe Elementary School, then Swanson Middle School and finally, Yorktown High School, where he served as PTA president and on the Building Level Planning Committee (BLPC) during Yorktown’s multi-year renovation. John co-chaired the 2002 school bond campaign, and while President of the Yorktown PTA, joined forces with his peers at Washington-Lee and Wakefield for the expedited rebuilding of Wakefield High School. He testified before both the School Board and County Board multiple times in advocacy of the Swanson Middle School expansion and rebuilding both Yorktown and Wakefield.

John was also active in the County Council of PTAs, with officer positions as secretary and then vice president. The School Board recognized him for his years of service by bestowing its Honored Citizen award in 2008.

John is a partner with business law firm Krooth & Altman, LLP, in Washington. Earlier in his career, he was a VISTA volunteer with the Nebraska Indian Commission and a Legal Services Corporation attorney for low-income elderly. His daily commute includes a combination of Metrorail, Metrobus or ART Bus, and walking. He holds a B.A. degree and J.D. degree from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. John and Mary have lived in Tara-Leeway Heights since 1989. Jack lives in South Arlington and Ben is a college Junior.