But, just a few miles across the Blue Ridge, freshman Democrat Tom Perriello of the 5th District voted for the legislation. Last summer, Perriello held 21 town hall meetings on healthcare reform across his sprawling district. He'd been working behind the scenes to influence the legislation so it won't add to the deficit, to protect Medicare, and to assure it will be fair and beneficial to rural areas like much of his district. After the historic vote, Perriello stated:
[The bill is] profound shift away from the status quo towards progress and better, cheaper health care for more Americans. [It] will make health care more affordable for the middle class, provide security for seniors and reduce the federal deficit.Whether for or against health care reform, most people in the district asked me to fight for deficit reduction, a fair shake for rural doctors, and no federal funding for abortions. I helped to score major victories on all three fronts. Today’s vote on health care legislation came down to a simple choice for me: do we sit back and let premiums skyrocket for middle-class families and small businesses, and watch the cost of prescription drugs bankrupt seniors and the cost of health care bankrupt the federal government? Or do we take this step today to support middle-class families and small businesses by encouraging competition to bring down premiums?The time to act is now, because Virginians deserve a competitive health care market,” he continued. They deserve access to affordable health care, and they deserve better choices when purchasing insurance.
Perriello has been hammered for weeks in TV ads sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and other conservative/GOP groups. Several potential Republican challengers are on the campaign trail attacking Rep. Perriello. The barrage of misleading litter will continue all the way until November 2010.
Right now it appears unlikely that Democrats will field a candidate against Bob Goodlatte in the 6th District. So, I'd like to make a modest proposal to progressives and Democrats in the Shenandoah Valley - make a "Thank You" donation to Tom Perriello's reelection campaign. It is quick and easy to do online and it will send a message that Democrats across the state are standing with Rep. Tom Perriello because he had the courage to do the right thing for his district and country.