Justin David Maddox, a former CIA branch chief with a deep background in identifying and disseminating political propaganda, has announced his candidacy as a Republican for the 45th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.
“I am a counter-propaganda expert, and I hate lies,” Maddox told ALXnow. “What is driving me at a fundamental level is the concept that I can be a guy who brings truth to this organization (the General Assembly). I really want to do that.”
J.D. Maddox, as he’s known professionally, has been a member of Alexandria’s Commission on Information Technology since October 2020. Previously, he had a 22-year career with the federal government, starting in 1995 with a four year stint as a reservist in the U.S. Army leading a small team in “tactical propaganda dissemination, deception operations and intelligence gathering training,” according to his Linkedin page.
From 2001 to 2004 he spent tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a nuclear threat response team for the National Nuclear Security Agency. After that he spent two years briefing Congress and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on intelligence and law enforcement. From 2006 to 2011, he was a CIA branch chief assessing online propaganda from foreign adversaries, and from 2012 to 2017 he was the Deputy Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center at the U.S. State Department.
Maddox won’t say whether he supported former U.S. President Donald Trump, and instead says he wants to focus on the present and the future, not the politics of the past. He hasn’t yet spoken with incumbent Del. Mark Levine, who is running against Alexandria Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker for the Democratic primary on June 8.
Maddox doesn’t have a blueprint for local issues, but said that he wants to focus on improving the public school system, the state’s IT infrastructure, Alexandria’s sewers, and the transportation network without raising taxes.
He also said he wants to develop fresh opinions on local issues by establishing focus groups and that he doesn’t want to insert divisive legislation into policy, which is one of the criticisms he had against Levine.
Levine’s House Bill 1800, for instance, calls for the removal of state funding to the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It states that “(i)f the UDC wants to maintain statues or gravesites honoring slave-holding traitors, they can still do so, but they have to raise money from private funds and not rely on taxpayers to do so.”
Maddox said that the language is out of place.
“The current representative of the 45th District is actively calling southerners traitors in legislation,” Maddox said. “There’s a place for finding these solutions to our divisive problems, but it’s not by name calling, and it’s not through really inserting divisiveness into legislation. I want to move away from that.”
Maddox now runs his own government contracting firm, Inventive Insights, and is an adjunct professor teaching national security challenges at George Mason University’s Volgenau School of Engineering. He also has a degree from St. John’s College and a Master’s Degree in national security studies from Georgetown University.