With a deep passion and strong commitment to local politics, Taikein Cooper is devoted to helping citizens effectively engage in the American political process. His devotion and interest in his community dates back to the age of 11, when Cooper canvassed the local community assisting his former D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) teacher, Travis Harris, in his campaign to become Prince Edward County's Sheriff.
Born in Prince Edward County, Taikein Cooper is a 2006 dual-enrollment graduate from Southside Virginia Community College and Prince Edward County High School. While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he led various political action committees, served on the Chancellor's Search Committee and led a grassroots effort to Jena, Louisiana, calling for justice for the infamous Jena Six.
In 2010, after earning a degree in Public Policy Analysis from UNC Cooper returned to his true passion, fighting for the betterment of the people of Virginia. Most notably in 2012, Cooper ran in a special election for Prince Edward County's Treasurer at the age of 24. At the age of 25, Cooper was asked to run for US Congress in Virginia's 5th Congressional District.
Cooper recently resigned as the Chief Executive Officer of a private behavioral agency, which served nearly 100 clients throughout the Commonwealth. This decision came at the forward progress to enhance his personal consulting firm. Since the election, Cooper has been speaking at universities and colleges, community rallies and other local institutions across the nation, about the importance and power of young adults in today's political environment.
Cooper has fond memories of his time at SVCC. He said that his teachers worked him hard and prepared him for the workload at a four-year institution. "I vividly remember Mrs. Sharon Dunn's math courses and Dr. Percy Richardson's public speaking course...I would have never thought that the things that I learned in their classes would have the impact on me that they do today. SVCC gave me an opportunity to enroll in the Pre-Engineering Academy before STEM schools became national phenomena. SVCC was before its time and I trust that my first alma mater will continue to prepare future leaders of America."