The Congressional Candidates Showcase Forum is a biennial event sponsored by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. This year, two candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic incumbent Tom Perriello and Independent challenger Jeffrey Clark spoke at the event. Republican challenger Robert Hurt declined the SSV’s invitation to attend.
The event took place at the August 11, 2010 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at The Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by best-selling author, historian, political analyst and host of WINA’s “Charlottesville – Right Now!” Coy Barefoot.
Congressman Tom Perriello was sworn into office on January 6, 2009, and is proud to represent the 5th District of Virginia. He serves on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. During his short time in Congress, he has already successfully passed into law a $2,500 tuition tax credit for college and community college education; worked to extend job training benefits for veterans; and supported economic recovery efforts in Congress.
Born and raised in the 5th district, Congressman Perriello previously served as a national security consultant, working in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Darfur, Kosovo, and Liberia. His 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 the blood diamonds war in that country. He also served as Special Advisor and court spokesperson in the prosecution of Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, peaceably forcing him from power.
He has also founded a number of nonprofit organizations aimed at bringing together faith communities to fight for children’s health care, economic fairness, environmental stewardship, and responsible solutions in Iraq. Mr. Perriello was educated in Albemarle County public schools, St. Anne’s-Belfield, and has his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University.
Mr. Perriello has outlined the major issues to be addressed in the 5th district:
- Economic R.E.V.I.V.A.L.
- Relief for small businesses
- Energy solutions
- Vocational training and strong schools
- Virginia Workers First
- Education and job training
- Lobbying and corruption
- Supporting our troops and honoring our veterans
- Health care
- Oil independence
- Second Amendment rights
Jeffrey A. Clark was born and raised in the tide-water area of Virginia. After high School he joined the U.S. Army and served 4 years. He was stationed for two years in Germany and the remaining two in Texas. While in Germany Jeff traveled to other European countries and he took advantage of college classes offered to soldiers. Jeff met his wife Gerri of 25 years while stationed in Texas. They have four adult children and three grandchildren.
After serving in the U.S. Army Jeff settled into a career in hospitality management, managing hotels and restaurants. Corporate relocation resulted in Jeff and his family moving up and down the east coast as well as stints in the Midwest. It was during this period of frequent relocation that Jeff’s wife Gerri began home schooling their four children. Their oldest child was home schooled from 3rd through the 12th grade. Each of their three other children were home schooled until reaching the 9th grade. Three of their children graduated from Tunstall High School in Pittsylvania County.
In 2004 Jeff and his wife chose to make Danville Virginia their new home and soon started a property inspection business drawing on his experience working summers with his grandfather who owned a commercial contracting company. In 2005 Jeff and Gerri purchased a water testing laboratory in Danville. Both Jeff and his wife are Virginia State certified laboratory directors. Gerri runs the day to day operations of the laboratory and Jeff conducts residential and commercial property inspections in Virginia and North Carolina.
Jeff has a renewable energy concept currently under patent consideration. He has presented project details and research to several universities as well as collaborated with the Department of Defense and the Department of energy. In the process Jeff has become very familiar with our country’s energy needs and shortcomings and has a fundamental understanding of the benefits, weakness and limitations of current renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and current energy storage systems.
Jeff and Gerri’s current household consists of their youngest daughter Erica and their youngest son Jeffrey Jr. and Jeff’s 93 year old grandmother Ruth Clark and his 91 year old great aunt Louise Wilson. Erica is part of the management team at a local theater and Jeffrey Jr. works at the lab and assists his father with inspections. Their oldest daughter Ashley is married and has three children and lives in Norfolk and their oldest Son Donald is in the U.S. Marine Corps stationed in California and recently returned from his first combat tour of duty in Afghanistan. They have three dogs a Great Dane named Hoss and two mixed breeds named Lilly and Little Jo.
Jeff has never run for nor held elected office. Like most citizens he has observed the abuses and corruption and mismanagement of Government and thinks things can be, and should be done different in Washington. He believes in the concept of citizen legislators serving in Washington as our Founding fathers had intended. He believes that its time to elect everyday Americans to federal office and to interject some common sense into the daily management of our Government.