Joe Cobb for Roanoke

About Joe Cobb

Joe Cobb lives in Roanoke, Virginia, USA, with his husband, James, and their two children, Ginny and JJ. Their family also includes a daughter, Emma, and her husband, Connor Gwin, and a son, Taylor.


A career of service

Joe was ordained as a clergy in Metropolitan Community Churches in 2006, serving as Pastor of the MCC of Winston-Salem from 2007-2008 and as Pastor of MCC of the Blue Ridge, Roanoke, from 2009-2017.  Prior to this, Rev. Joe served as a United Methodist Clergy in Texas, England, and Kansas, from 1985-2001.

In addition, Joe has served as Executive Director of the Interfaith Hospitality Network in Roanoke, Virginia, guiding a network of thirty congregations in providing sustainable services for homeless families seeking to secure permanent housing, and serves on the Community and Diversity Advisory Council for the Virginia Tech/Carilion School of Medicine.  He brings years of experience in non-profit and faith-based board governance.  He was a founding member of the Non-profit Center in Roanoke, Virginia, and prior to this served on the boards of the Mental Health Association of Forsyth County in Winston-Salem, NC, the Conflict Resolution Center in Roanoke, VA, and Family Promise (formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network) in Roanoke.  Joe served as PTA President for Highland Park Elementary School where his children attend school, and now works as their Community Outreach Coordinator.  Joe was recently named to the Roanoke Citizen’s Panel to interview candidates for the new Police Chief for the City of Roanoke.  He also serves on the Virginia Tech/Carilion School of Medicine Community and Diversity Advisory Board, the Carilion Bioethics Committee, the Healthy Roanoke Valley Steering Committee and the Roanoke Valley Unites Steering Committee.

A future in leadership

Joe is a leader and advocate for social justice and brings strong public relations, development, fundraising, and collaborative experience in building community collaborations and partnerships.

He has a Master of Divinity degree from Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas, USA, and a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, USA.  He is currently working toward a Doctor of Ministry degree with Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.

Joe is co-author of Our Family Outing: A Memoir of Coming Out and Coming Through, written with his former spouse, Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor. The book is a unique, two voice narrative of a gay man and straight woman and their journey through marriage, children, coming out, divorce, healing, reconciliation, and creating a new way of being family.

Through his life-long work in equality, Joe works every day to create a city where all are welcome and can thrive regardless of gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, health, physical ability or religion.

Key Issues


Engaging Our Neighborhoods in Grassroots Conversations and Strategies to Create a Culture of Growth

Roanoke is unique and diverse because of our citizens and the neighborhoods of our city.  When our City Council takes the lead in going to our citizens where we live and work and listens to our voices, our wisdom, and our ideas, then, together, we can create and sustain a vibrant city that reflects all of us.  The best way to create an equitable environment for growth, for every age, is to welcome the wisdom of our citizens and engage them in our decision-making and strategies for a healthy future.

Empowering Equitable Neighborhood Resources to Spark Innovation, Healthy Living and Expanded Transportation

Roanoke is an incubator for creative enterprise.  We are dedicated to inspiring an entrepreneurial spirit, sustaining a strong environment for business growth, apprentice and job training, and living wages for our community workforce, through collaborative and innovative partnerships in our neighborhoods. 

We are dedicated to inspiring healthy living, by addressing the health crises that threaten to tear the fabric of our life together - high blood pressure, stress, chronic disease, nutrition, opioid and heroine addiction - through greater access to health care services and support.

We are dedicated to exploring ways to expand our transportation systems to create greater access to work places, healthcare appointments, and educational opportunities.

Ending Child Homelessness in Roanoke

Roanoke loves our children. The last thing we want to see is any child without a place to call home. Through the leadership of our City Council, our neighborhoods, our schools, our business community, our non-profit sector and our faith communities, we have the wisdom and the resources to collectively end homelessness for children.

Energizing our Creative Spirit to Grow an Inclusive City

Roanoke is a creative city. We are a thriving arts community.  We are a “get out and play” city. We are a festival city.  We are a seven-time All American City. We are a richly diverse city seeking to become a truly inclusive city. While acknowledging our painful history of segregation, we are working to honor our unique gifts and become a city where everyone can shine.