The Honorable J. Walter Tejada was elected to the County Board on March 11, 2003, in a Special Election. Mr. Tejada was re-elected on November 6, 2007. He served as Chairman to the Board in 2008 and Vice-Chairman in 2007. He was re-elected in 2011 and currently is serving his second term as Chairman of the Board.
A community advocate, Mr. Tejada has distinguished himself as a leader committed to enhancing the diversity of Arlington and the region's community voice. During his tenure, he has reached out to local communities and encouraged residents to be active participants in various efforts throughout the County and the Washington DC Metropolitan region. He has been instrumental in convening community stakeholders to address a wide-range of issues such as affordable housing, civic engagement and volunteerism, community and economic development, education and employment, fiscal accountability, parks and recreation, tenant outreach and empowerment efforts, youth development programming, health and fitness, nonprofit initiatives and others.
Relentless in his commitment to promote and support civic participation and representation, Mr. Tejada has been an instrumental visionary in the establishment of various initiatives and programs. Two such initiatives are the Community Volunteer Network (CVN - formerly known as the Community Role Models (CRM)), an initiative which provides leadership development, as well as educational and service opportunities for young adults; and the Shirlington Employment and Education Center which helps provide opportunities for workers.
Mr. Tejada's work has earned the respect of local, state, regional and national leadership, and he is honored to join many of the efforts that are shaping policies on multiple levels. Former Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner appointed Mr. Tejada to serve as the first Chairman of the Virginia Latino Advisory Commission.
In 2004 and 2005, he was elected to serve as Chairman of the Human Services Policy Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and continues to represent Arlington in COG's Human Services and Public Safety Policy Committee to address regional matters. Mr. Tejada was a member of the Virginia Municipal League's Human Development & Education Steering Committee (VML). Additionally, he is a member of the National Association of Counties' Member Programs and Services Committee and the Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee (NACo) and he was elected 2009 President of the National Association of Hispanic County Officials (NAHCO), which is a sub-division of NACo. He was also appointed Chairman of NACo's 2009-2010 and 2012-2013 Immigration Task Force. He also serves on the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo)'s Board of Directors and the Administration of Government Steering Committee.
In October 2006, Mr. Tejada was appointed by Governor Timothy Kaine to the Governor's Urban Policy Task Force, a Cabinet-level task force that reviewed economic, social, and fiscal conditions in Virginia's urban areas. Also, he serves as a member of the Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary Advisory Committee, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History Latino Advisory Council, and the DC United's Hispanic Advisory Committee - a true testament to his work in supporting efforts to honor the contributions of Latinos nationwide.
Mr. Tejada has been a resident and community leader in Arlington for over 20 years. Prior to his election as a member of the County Board, he served on a number of citizen advisory groups including the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission, the Affordable Housing Task Force, the Sports Commission, the Neighborhood Day Organizing Committee and the Bicentennial Celebration Task Force.
He has also been an active member of the Arlington Community Foundation Scholarship Review Committee, the United Way Grants Review Committee, the Arlington Multicultural Institute, the Immigrant Rights Coalition of Greater Washington, the United Salvadoran Communities (CUS), the Arlington Sister City Association, and is a former Virginia State Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of which he continues to be a member. A true pioneer, he is the founding chairman of the state-wide Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO), the founding President of the American Salvadoran Association of Virginia and of the Latino Democrats of Virginia.
The recipient of many awards for his years of activism, Mr. Tejada received the "Spirit of Community Award" from the Arlington Community Foundation, and was named "Outstanding Young Arlingtonian of the Year" by the Arlington Jaycees. In 2003, he was honored by the Youth Project with the "Community Leader Award". DC United has honored him with the "Community Hero Award", and he was recognized by the American Soccer League of Arlington for his continued support.
In 2007, Mr. Tejada was recognized by the Ethiopian Community Development Council with the "Distinguished Service Award" in recognition of his leadership role in enhancing the diversity of Arlington County's community voice and for demonstrating through his personal and professional life the contributions immigrants make to the nation. Additionally, the Greater Washington Ibero American Chamber of Commerce presented him with the "Appreciation Award" for his support of the Latino Business and Entrepreneurial Community in our region. The United Consuls of Latin America recognized him as a "Special Friend of the Community" for his tireless labor and support for the people of the Metropolitan Area. In December 2007, Mr. Tejada was selected by the Center for Non-Profit Advancement to receive the prestigious 2007 Phyllis Campbell Newsome Public Policy Leadership Award for creating a non-profit assistance network in Arlington and supporting non-profits across the metropolitan region.
In 2008, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) nominated Mr. Tejada, and he was awarded, the prestigious "Ohtli Award"; given by the Mexican government to distinguished Latinos for their support to the service of the Mexican community living in the United States.
In 2010 he began serving on the Board of Directors on the national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization National Council of La Raza. Mr. Tejada frequently participates as a panelist on conferences, held both within the region as well as out of state, where he is invited to speak on diverse topics that range from local issues to immigration, education, civic engagement and so on.
In 2011 Mr. Tejada was elected to represent region III (DC, MD, VA) in the National Association of Regional Councils, an organization that advocates for cooperation among regional leaders. Mr. Tejada was honored with the 2011 Immigrant Advocate of the Year Award by the Capital Area Immigrant Rights (CAIR) Coalition for his continued support for immigrants’ rights.
Born in El Salvador, Mr. Tejada moved to the United States at the age of 13. He studied Government and Communication at George Mason University and has worked as an investigator, a business consultant and as an aide to Congressman Jim Moran.