photo: Daily Progress
I attended the Jefferson Area Tea Party meeting last night at Arby's - Forest Lakes to see how the interaction went between Tom Perriello and local Tea Party members. Little did I know that I would appear in the photo on the front page of the Aug. 27, 2010 Daily Progress (see photo below). I arrived one hour early to be sure to get in after being informed by Tom Slonaker - owner of the Arby's store - that there is limited seating and no more the 120 people - the fire code limit - would be allowed to be present for the meeting. As it turned out, I could have arrived anytime and been able to get in.
I enjoyed chatting with several early arriving Tea Party members and felt welcomed a non-member of the Tea Party by some, and not welcomed by others. I bought an Arby's Sandwitch and a drink and waited for the meeting to begin and for Tom Perriello to arrive for his 6:30 pm presentation and Q&A period.
photo: Daily Progress
During the Tom Perriello interaction, several of the members present expressed a high degree of anger and frustration in their questions of Tom Perriello's voting record, position on displaying signs at his town hall meetings, and statements he has made. Tom was quite impressive in answering these questions in a clear and understandable way. Clearly, not all in the room agreed with his answers, but the audience did allow him to speak and answer without any significant interference.
I was glad I went to this event. I hope I can discuss the nature of this interaction between Tom Perriello and the Tea Party members present in one of my TV-19 Political Monday segments I do with Joe Thomas (a Tea Party member himself) at 6:45 pm on Charlottesville TV-19 (WCAV) every Monday.
Perhaps I am a political optimist, but I believe Tom may have opened the minds of some in the room to the fact that he is working to improve the prospects of most of the people living in the Virginia 5th Congressional District and in fact agrees with and works to pass bills supported my many of the Tea Party members.
I continue to be impressed by Tom Perriello's ability to respond directly and honestly to questions that are asked of him by some of his most vigorous opponents.
I believe Tom Perriello has done an excellent job representing the 5th district, and I will be supporting him in his campaign to continue as our congressman in the upcoming election.