I’ve seen some people claim, despite the fact that we have done so over and over and over and over and over again here on Blue Virginia, that we haven’t made the case FOR Tom Perriello as governor. Again, that’s complete nonsense, but for the record, here are 50 reasons to vote FOR Tom Perriello. I’m sure I could have come up with dozens more, but this is a good start, anyway.
- The guy is flat-out brilliant, including deep knowledge and understanding of Virginia and how the national political situation impacts us.
- He has led in this primary on basically every issue, from education, to defending immigrants to the minimum wage to rural economic development to…you name it, basically.
- He is a progressive who has years of experience as a peace negotiator, which means he knows how to listen and to come to mutually satisfactory agreements. In short, he’s a PRAGMATIC progressive who can get stuff done!
- He is the only candidate in the race for governor with an understanding of how economic and technological change (e.g., automation) is and will be impacting Virginia in the future — and what we can do to maximize the benefits to our state and minimize any associated pain and dislocation.
- Through dozens and dozens (hundreds?) of town hall and other meetings, he has provided a model for a new type of leadership – unfiltered, direct, in-person and via social media, bottom-up, all over the state, tireless – as opposed to the usual top-down, insular, non-communicative style all too many Virginia politicians practice.
- He is the only candidate for governor who truly understands the environmental challenges we face, as well as the imperative to switch as soon as possible from a dirty energy economy to one powered by clean, cheap, inexhaustible renewable energy.
- He was the first statewide candidate – and one of the first politicians EVER in Virginia – to really stand up to the corrupt behemoth, Dominion Power. For that reason alone, Tom deserves enormous credit – and your vote tomorrow!
- He strongly opposes Dominion’s fracked gas pipelines-from hell. Beyond that, Tom “gets it” on the environment — see 13 Ways I Will Fight For Virginia’s Environment, for instance.
- He has been endorsed by major environmental groups and environmental champions including 350.org founder Bill McKibben, climate scientist Michael Mann, Climate Hawks Vote, ClimateTruth.org Action, Friends of the Earth Action, etc.
- He raced to Dulles Airport following Trump’s racist, unconstitutional, unAmerican Muslim ban and didn’t just go for a photo op, but stayed for hours to listen and to help in any way he could.
- He has visited mosques across Virginia, in solidarity with our Muslim-American brothers and sisters who have been targeted by the Trump administration and by Trump-inflamed bigotry. Heck, Tom even fasted for a full day during Ramadan, while maintaining a busy campaign schedule in the sweltering heat, no less.
- He stood up to hate and bigotry in his home town of Charlottesville when white supremacists came for a torchlight rally.
- While in Congress, he took courageous votes for the Affordable Care Act, supporting a public option as well, and for the cap-and-trade bill to deal with the climate crisis. He might have lost reelection in the 2010 Tea Party wipeout mostly due to the “Obamacare” vote, but he said some things are too important to worry about your own reelection. That’s EXACTLY the type of attitude we should reward, and that we should desire in our leaders.
- During the Tea Party craziness of 2010, he showed incredible courage as he held town hall meeting after town hall meeting in his district – in person, staying for hours, listening and answering respectfully (despite the screaming and disrespect shown to him), facing off against howling mobs threatening to burn him in effigy, etc.
- This courage is nothing new for Tom, who put himself in harm’s way while working for the UN-mandated Special Court for war-ravaged Sierra Leone.
- He’s an Eagle Scout. ‘Nuff said.
- He served the Obama administration with distinction, including as Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Tom “was charged with implementing the administration’s policies of preventing mass atrocities and supporting the emergence of peaceful, democratic societies.”
- Those he worked with in the Obama administration were so impressed by Tom, that many – Valerie Jarrett and basically the entire Obama team – have endorsed him for governor of Virginia.
- He has also been endorsed by one of the people I admire most in American politics, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who said of Tom: “He’s the kind of guy who says, ‘I am going to make change and I’m going to make change not for the richest, not for the most powerful, not for what’s politically expedient. I want to make change for hard-working families.'”
- He has also been endorsed by former NAACP President Ben Jealous, who says that Tom believes in “fairness for all of our families” and “has the courage to fight to make sure that we all get a better deal, like standing up for the $15 minimum wage.”
- He has been endorsed by Gold Star Parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan.
- He has been endorsed by 2016 VA-10 congressional candidate LuAnn Bennett, who I greatly admire.
- He is also being quietly supported by many Virginia elected officials who endorsed Ralph Northam when nobody else was in the race and when there was no sign that anyone else WOULD get in the race. So don’t let all those Northam endorsements fool you.
- Want a really good reason to vote for Tom? The Washington Post’s Virginia endorsement guy, Lee Hockstader (a big fan of “moderate Republicans” and conservative Democrats, by the way), actually argued that we should support Northam because, in part, Republicans “tried to recruit him to switch parties in 2009.” WTF? Yeah, please do the exact opposite of what Lee Hockstader wants!
- He is the only candidate with a serious plan for animal welfare in Virginia.
- As governor, Tom will fight to end school lunch debt in Virginia, so that no child goes hungry.
- As governor, Tom will strongly support Virginia’s military families and veterans.
- As governor, Tom will fight for people with disabilities and will “work to make inclusion and equality a reality in Virginia.”
- As governor, Tom will push “for a law allowing pharmacists and some nurses to prescribe and dispense birth control.”
- As governor, Tom will push back hard – and smart – against the opioid epidemic that’s devastating Virginia families.
- As governor, Tom will work to improve maternity care in Virginia.
- Before I forget, Tom is the only candidate running for governor who has laid out specific plans for how he’d PAY for all his proposals.
- Tom understands that “hate and discrimination are not Virginia values” and, as governor, will work to “repeal laws based in hate and enshrine in our code and constitution laws aimed at ensuring that LGBTQ Virginians can live and work in our Commonwealth with legally-protected dignity and respect.”
- As governor, Tom will work to “fix our tax system so we can invest in the middle and working class.”
- Tom “rejects charter school expansion and favors public school investment” while “Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam isn’t opposed to future charter school expansion, but he says there is a need to address a state pay gap for teachers and to prioritize K through 12 learning.” Also on education, Tom has by far the best plan for pre-K through high school and beyond, offering two years of free community college, trade school, or apprenticeship. That’s exactly what we need in Virginia right now!
- As governor, Tom will continue to be a “brick wall” against Republican efforts to roll back a woman’s right to choose, women’s reproductive health care, etc, etc. Along those lines, here are 12 ways Tom Perriello will stand with Virginia women as governor, including support for “passing an amendment enshrining the rights guaranteed under Roe in the Virginia Constitution.”
- Tom understands that our criminal justice system is broken and that it’s long past time to fix it.
- Tom will tackle the racial wealth gap, an utterly disgraceful, “deeply wrong” situation, in which “the average white household in Virginia has more than eleven times the wealth of the average black household.”
- As governor, Tom will fight to ensure that health care for Virginians remains affordable and accessible.
- That includes working to expand Medicaid: “As governor, I will immediately reintroduce Medicaid expansion. I will campaign on it this year in every corner of our state, campaign for delegate candidates who support it (and against Republican delegates who oppose it), and we will show once-and-for-all in November that expanding Medicaid is what Virginians want their leaders in Richmond to do. We will make this a voting issue, and we won’t back down from this fight.”
- As governor, Tom will “advance common-sense gun safety reforms that protect Virginians, prioritizing keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, intimate partner abusers and stalkers, and individuals suffering from severe mental illness, and restricting access to weapons and ammunition that have no defensible role in sport or home defense.”
- In addition, Tom promises that, as governor, his “top priorities would be to enact universal background checks on all gun sales, no matter who the seller is, including at gun shows and online; to restrict the high-capacity magazines that mass shooters have used to inflict maximum damage and casualties; to end “default” gun sales, which allow gun sales to go forward when background checks are not yet completed; and to keep guns out of the hands of intimate partner abusers and stalkers.”
- Tom has ripped the NRA, correctly, as a “nutjob, extremist organization.”
- Tom pledged to run a positive campaign, has done so, and should be commended for that.
- Tom is best positioned to bring the Democratic Party together, uniting the Sanders and Clinton wings, Obama supporters, pragmatists and populists, etc. Just look at his campaign staffers, who are a hybrid of Clinton, Sanders, Obama,
- As a long-time activists himself, as well as a former Congressman, Tom is also best positioned to bring together the party establishment with the many activist groups and individuals, including those who have gotten more involved since the election of Donald Trump.
- Tom is best positioned to tap into the enormous progressive and Democratic energy we saw at the amazing Women’s March, and to translate that into votes this November, as well as into effective political power going forward.
- Electing Tom will send a strong message to Trump – and to those in the Democratic Party who believe that nothing needs to change, that political reality today is the same as it’s ever been, yada yada – that there is a vibrant message of progressive populism out there that can compete and win against Trump’s toxic brand of right-wing populism, xenophobia, bigotry, extremism, etc.
- If you’re not a fan of the “Virginia Way” — the rotten system of legalized corruption and corporate power over our government, as described in this must-read book — vote for Tom tomorrow, as he understands that this system isn’t working for ordinary Virginians. In stark contrast, Ralph Northam appears to honestly believe that the “Virginia Way” is about “being able to sit down at the table with people from both sides of the aisle … agree to disagree but, at the end of the day, do what’s in the best interests of Virginia.”
- At age 42, Tom represents a new, rising generation of leadership, one that understands how to communicate in today’s world and is not wedded to antiquated ideas and attitudes. I great look forward to seeing how Tom Perriello will translate this into results as the 73rd governor of Virginia!
UPDATE: My Blue Virginia colleague A Siegel adds a few more.
51. There are many things impressive in Tom’s career, meriting respect, such as formation of the international non-profit Avaaz.
52. Tom is highly articulate in engagement with allies, neutral, and adversaries. He is willing to hold a real conversation with anyone – they will find Tom someone who will engage with them thoughtfully — including able/willing to adopt lessons and ideas from others.
53. Tom is intellectually curious across a spectrum of arenas and able to synthesize/speak/think in a “systems,” rather than a “stove-piped” fashion, which is critical when dealing with 21st century challenges & opportunities.
54. On a related note, Tom eloquently weaves together reality of climate challenges and the opportunities for addressing them.
55. Re climate change, both Northam and Perriello have “issue pages” that are far better than the GOP’s. This critical arena, however, seems far closer to Perriello’s heart, and he shows a far stronger/more nuanced grasp of climate change science/technol