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Va. Gov. Candidate Perriello Talks With DREAMers in F.C.

FORMER U.S. REP. Tom Perriello (center, in black) exchanged ideas and stories with a group of DREAMers assembled under the auspices of CASA Virginia in Falls Church on Friday (Photo: News-Press)
FORMER U.S. REP. Tom Perriello (center, in black) exchanged ideas and stories with a group of DREAMers assembled under the auspices of CASA Virginia in Falls Church on Friday (Photo: News-Press)

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, who announced his candidacy to seek the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia last month, held a roundtable in the City of Falls Church today with a delegation of DREAMers, children of immigrant families seeking to remain in the U.S., and immigration advocates.

The DREAMers, organized under the auspices of CASA Virginia at the Winter Hill clubhouse on S. Virginia Ave., told stories of their education accomplishments in the United States and the sacrifices of their parents.

Rep. Perriello, who served as the U.S. representative from Charlottesville from 2008 to 2010, told the News-Press that the election of Donald Trump in November was a major motivating factor in his decision to run for the Democratic nod. Until he announced, the Democratic field was limited only to sitting Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, who already has a significant edge in endorsements from other Democratic officials in the state.

What makes Trump scary, Perriello said, is that he’s “a very weak man with a lot of power” who “ran one of the most explicitly racist campaigns in U.S. history.” He represents “either the last desperate gaps of a dying mentality or the beginning of our nation going off the rails.” That choice, he said, will be determined by “the people stepping up.”

Perriello added that he was sad to learn from teachers across northern Virginia that the day Trump was elected last November, “many students, many promising ones, simply disappeared from their classes.”

“Showing up and humanizing our cause, the need for a better economic agenda, and jumping into local and state elections this year are key,” he said. “It’s not politicians, but movements that change the sense of what’s possible, and politicians then operate in the realm of the possible.”