U.S. Representative Tom Perriello, a Democrat who was elected to Congress from Virginia’s Fifth District in 2008 by a narrow margin over then-incumbent Republican Virgil Goode, debated his challenger, Danville businessman Jeffrey Clark, at a forum sponsored by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia in Charlottesville on August 11. (A third candidate, Robert Hurt of Chatham, chose not to participate.)
After the debate, Perriello answered questions posed by the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner.
Earning Libertarian Votes
The first question was, given that some voters in the Fifth District identify as libertarian, how does he plan to earn their votes in the November 2 election?
Perriello replied that he has “taken a strong position in terms of regulation of farming, and manufacturing, and other issues from a libertarian perspective.”
He added that libertarian voters are “also very concerned about some of the overreach by the Republican Party” as it “promote[s] more of a police state mentality.”
Referring to his votes to support the comprehensive health-care overhaul bill pushed by President Barack Obama (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), Perriello suggested that his vote was motivated, in part, by libertarian concerns.
“Again,” he said, “I think there are ways to understand some things that have been pitched as government takeover as really being about individual rights and libertarian rights,” for example, for “people to not get screwed by your insurance company, the right to not have to pay for other peoples’ illnesses.”
“To me,” Perriello said, these “have a libertarian undercurrent.”
Same-Sex Marriage and DOMA
During the forum, Perriello was asked about same-sex marriage and whether he would vote to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Because he did not directly answer that question, he was given another opportunity to do so. (See video below.)
“Right now, we’re looking at this playing out at the state level. I think you’re seeing, as you did with welfare reform, different states take different approaches and districts take different approaches. I think we’ll continue to see how that plays out state to state.”
About the forum itself, Perriello said he enjoyed himself.
Mixing It Up
“I really enjoyed [debating] with Virgil Goode last time because he was a very opinionated guy, so we actually got into issues and mixed it up. And that’s more fun to me.”
He added, however, that “unfortunately, with Senator Hurt, we’ve mainly just got Republican Party talking points and not engaging with what’s going to solve the problem.”
As to Wednesday’s forum, the first major debate of the campaign season, Perriello said, “With Mr. Clark and myself, you have a conservative/populist vs. a progressive/populist, both thinking the system’s broken, having slightly different approaches to how we mix that up. That made it a good forum.”
Do you like this article? Do you want to see more like it? Be sure to click on the “subscribe” button at the top of the page.
If you would like to become an Examiner on dampfang.com, click on the “write for us” button on the upper right corner of this page.