Tom Rust is recognized as one of the most effective legislators in the Virginia General Assembly, consistently gaining high marks from the nonpartisan Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education (Virginia FREE). In 2011, Tom was named Legislator of the Year by the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-VA) for his work on behalf of the citizens of Virginia. Tom serves on four committees including the Commerce and Labor, Education, Transportation, and Science and Technology Committees in the House of Delegates and chairs the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS), a permanent legislative commission developed to promote the advancement of technology and science in the Commonwealth.
As the first person in his family to earn a college degree, Tom knows the meaning of hard work, earning two masters degrees all while working full-time. Throughout his time of service in the House of Delegates, Tom has championed legislation to strengthen our economy and workforce, increase education funding for our public schools, help make college degrees more affordable, and deliver on transportation funding. Tom has worked hard to keep Virginia one of the top states for job creation with one of the lowest unemployment rates.
Tom is recognized as an effective, constructive, and bipartisan leader. On the transportation issue, Tom worked across the aisle to help pass the first new comprehensive funding plan in 27 years that will generate more than $1.5 billion in funding exclusively for Northern Virginia to build the safe, modern transportation system it needs – and close the gap in maintenance funding.
In 2011, Tom served on the Governor’s bipartisan Higher Education Commission and acted as co-patron of the commission’s ‘Top Jobs’ higher education legislation. This legislation has created a pathway towards awarding 100,000 more degrees over the next 15 years and will bring more innovation and accountability and STEM programming to Virginia’s colleges and universities. Tom is the recipient of the Virginia Education Association’s 2013 Legislative Champion Award, in recognition of his work to support public education, and was honored by the Potomac & Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling for policy initiatives to promote equal access to higher education and encourage student achievement.
The Washington Post has called Tom “one of the more effective lawmakers in the General Assembly.” The Loudoun Times has said that “Tom is not afraid to spearhead noble – yet immensely complex – efforts on such pressing issues as transportation, state finances, healthcare and education” and that “he tells it like it is – voting and talking with purpose, pragmatism, intelligence and integrity.”
Tom graduated from Herndon High School and went on to attend Virginia Tech, where he received a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He also earned a Master of Science in Public Works Engineering from George Washington University and a Master of Planning in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia. Before elected Delegate, Tom served as the Mayor of Herndon (1976-1984 and 1990-2001) and on the Herndon Town Council (1971-1976). Tom has also served on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors (1996-2001) and served as Vice-Rector from 1999 to 2001. He also served on the Longwood College Board of Visitors (1980-1988), and also served as Rector from 1981 to 1988.
Tom has been a longtime community leader in Northern Virginia, serving on numerous civic and charitable boards including the Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, Northern Virginia Community Foundation, Dulles Corridor Rail Association (Vice Chairman), and Fairfax-Falls Church United Way (Former Chairman, Executive Committee).
Tom is a professional engineer with Pennoni Associates and resides in Herndon with his wife Ann. They share two stepsons, a daughter, and two grandchildren.