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Nomination in hand, Perriello talks strategy
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Tom Perriello

Monday, May 19, 2008

By GINNY WRAY - Bulletin Staff Writer

Tom Perriello has pledged to "work a double shift every day" he is in Congress, if elected Nov. 4, to bring economic relief and jobs to the 5th District, he said Sunday.

He has a three-pronged approach for that, he said: investing in workers, creating a business-friendly environment and supporting new industry and local small businesses to generate job growth.

"There's no short cut. We have to invest in workers" through education and vocational training, as well as infrastructure, Perriello said.

He spoke the day after he was nominated by the 5th District Democrats to challenge U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode in the Nov. 4 election. Perriello was unopposed for the nomination at the district convention in Nelson County.

"It was an honor to become the official nominee," said Perriello, who has been campaigning for the nomination for months.

It was exciting to have "hundreds of folks fired up" for what Perriello sees as a period of a "new kind of politics" in which people are talking about "right and wrong, not right and left. We did not spend a lot of time bashing (President) Bush or Goode. We talked about making a difference."�

Perriello, 33, of Albemarle County, is making his first run for public office and trying to unseat Goode, a Rocky Mount Republican who already has been nominated to run for a seventh term in Congress.

Perriello's strategy for doing that is to climb back in his truck Monday morning and head out to as many counties, cities and towns in the district as he can, "talking about jobs, national security and values," he said.

His first stop will be in Danville, where he will continue to talk about his tithing initiative, in which 10 percent of his staff and volunteers' time will go to community service, such as soup kitchens and Habitat for Humanity, he said.

He will be in Martinsville on Wednesday and said he expects to be in a different county every day.

While Perriello says he plans to stress issues more than criticize his opponent, he did say that he questions Goode's record on jobs and economic growth. "There's a difference between bringing a foot path and jobs," he said.

Goode's "voting pattern is more in line with corporate interests in D.C. than families in the 5th District," Perriello said, claiming that Goode has voted with drug companies, credit card companies and others, yet he voted against a new GI Bill for the military.

While the economy is the key issue, Perriello said he still is concerned about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He supports a new power-sharing plan in Iraq which would enable the United States to withdraw.

"Both parties have got it wrong on Iraq," he added.

Perriello received a law degree from Yale University and then worked to end atrocities in the West African countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone. He was an adviser to an international prosecutor during an effort that forced Liberian dictator Charles Taylor from power, served as national security analyst for the Century Foundation, and worked inside Darfur and twice in Afghanistan.

He helped found and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, which bring together faith communities to fight for children's health care, raising the minimum wage, environmental stewardship and responsible solutions in Iraq.

The 5th District stretches from Charlottesville to Southside Virginia and west to Bedford and Franklin counties.


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