Fifth Congressional District Candidates Showcase

Republican incumbent Congressman Virgil H. Goode, Jr. and Democratic Challenger Tom Perriello spoke at a Senior Statesmen of Virginia event held August 13th, 2008 at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following opening statements by the candidates, questions were taken from members of the audience. Senior Statesmen board member and treasurer, Bob McAdams, moderated the program.

Congressman Virgil H. Goode, Jr. is a lifelong resident of Franklin County and currently resides in Rocky Mount, Virginia. He is married to the former Lucy D. Dodson and has a daughter named Catherine. Congressman Goode completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Richmond where he received his Bachelors of Arts degree in 1969. While a student at the University of Richmond, Congressman Goode was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies. Following his graduation from the University of Richmond, Congressman Goode attended the University of Virginia School of Law where he received a J.D. in 1973. During that time, he was selected for the Virginia Law Review. In 1973, at age 27, Congressman Goode was elected to the Commonwealth of Virginia Senate. He served as the 20th District Senator in the Virginia General Assembly until 1996 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives serving the 5th District of Virginia. He was sworn in to office in the 105th, in January 1997, and has served continuously since then.

Congressman Goode now divides his time between serving in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. and being in the 5th District. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Interior and Environment and the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development.

Tom Perriello, the youngest of four children of Vito and Linda Perriello, was born and raised in the fifth district and lives in Albemarle County a few miles from where he grew up. Tom is a product of Murray, Meriwether Lewis, Henley and Western Albemarle High School and graduated from St. Anne’s Belfield. From an early age, he was taught that a strong faith is a lived faith. His parents raised him to believe that to whom much is given, much is expected, and those lessons have shaped his lifelong commitment to service. Tom was an Eagle Scout in the Stonewall Jackson Area Council. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University. He is presently a guest lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Law. After receiving his law degree from Yale University, Tom accepted an assignment working to end atrocities in the West African countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone, which had suffered long civil wars fueled by blood diamonds. Tom’s work with child soldiers, amputees, and local pro-democracy groups in Sierra Leone played a significant role in the peace and reconciliation process that ended twelve years of violence in that country.

Tom became Special Advisor and spokesperson for the International Prosecutor during the showdown that forced Liberian dictator Charles Taylor from power without firing a shot. After this success, Tom served as a national security analyst for the Century Foundation. He has worked inside Darfur and twice in Afghanistan. He has worked on justice-based security strategies in Afghanistan and Kosovo, prosecuted warlords in Sierra Leone, and developed alternative peace strategies to curb acts of genocide in Darfur. He has been a consultant to the International Center for Transitional Justice and the National Council of Churches of Christ, an analyst for AfghanistanWatch, and a Fellow with The Century Foundation. He is a founding partner of Res Publica, which develops innovative solutions to global justice and security threats. Tom also co-founded, an international on-line community of 1.5 million members, operating in 12 languages, dedicated to building a global response to “problems without borders,” such as climate change.