We were happy to have the opportunity to attend the afternoon reception yesterday (Tuesday 6 Jan) for newly installed Representative Tom Perriello. The room was packed with people who nibbled on the crudites, cheese, and fruit while swilling sodas (pop?) or water; and chatted amiably, many independently saying that it was a great day. And there was no shortage of Perriello family members, including more than a half-dozen children, visiting with each other and friends. My informal survey of a couple more than a dozen of the many-score shoulder-to-shoulder guests (“Hi. My name’s John Lloyd; I’m from Charlottesville….”) showed that people in attendance came from many areas across the 5th district’s geography.
Well before Representative Perriello arrived, the crowd spilled into the hall of the room in the Rayburn Building and, when he did arrive (having ducked a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony, i.e., a “photo op,” with House Speaker N. Pelosi in favor of hanging with his constituents), it took a long time for Representative Perriello to make it across the room to get to the podium. With people having difficulty turning around and perspiring visibly, he shook many hands and hugged many constituents in moving the 10 meters from the door to the podium.
Senator James Webb appeared a few minutes before Representative Perriello took the podium and, welcoming the opportunity to collaborate with Representative Perriello, spoke briefly about the importance of making legislative progress at the present times and the many opportunities to do so (“a target-rich situation”). A minister from the 5th District invoked the support and guidance of God. A singer, accompanied by a guitarist, sang a couple of verses of “America the Beautiful” (with lots of audience participation, including the children crowded around the podium). And Mr. Perriello spoke broadly, briefly, and clearly about the importance of confronting the challenges confronting us and doing so in a responsible and principled manner. He invited constituents to make sure he adhered to the promises he made during his campaign.
In a twist of irony, as a part of an initiative to “green the capital,” the water served at the reception came in bottles that are made of corn-based polylactic acid. Former Representative Virgil Goode helped steer the U. S. Congressional purchase of the water from Grand Springs, a company in the 5th District.
Link to the home page for Mr. Perriello’s new office. Read A New Breed of Congressman: Va.’s Perriello Envisions a ‘Service Generation’ by Ian Shapira about Mr. Perriello that appeared in the Washington Post.