Special/Signature Issues » Top 40 Under 40

Victoria Cobb, 28

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PresidentThe Family Foundation



When Victoria Cobb's sixth-grade class was assigned to write a short story addressing a pressing social issue, Cobb penned a scenario in which she was a judge handing down a ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Cobb decided to pursue another path. At 28, she's president of The Family Foundation, the conservative, faith-based lobby-shop that steered the campaign last year to ban gay marriage in Virginia. The initiative passed with 57 percent of the vote.

Winning a big victory is not the same as winning a popularity contest. She has to live with a vocal opposition -- only 30 percent of Richmond city residents voted for the measure, according to the State Board of Elections. The Richmond Police Department has asked Cobb to log all the threatening messages she receives at work, including one caller who left a voicemail saying they hoped her children would die of cancer.

But Cobb forges ahead. The initiative has led to a broader coalition with African-American ministers who supported the foundation's efforts during the fight over the marriage amendment. Recently, she surprised critics by announcing that the foundation would start looking at ways to curb divorce, adopting a tongue-in-cheek suggestion frequently floated by the opposition during the marriage campaign.

"Whether you agree or disagree on these issues," she says, "I hope people can respect that I have integrity and the passion to put my life's work behind it."



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