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Tom Perriello | Fifth District Weekly Report

Last week, I wrote about our nation’s upcoming switch to digital television. This switch will end analog television service, meaning receiving service by rooftop antenna or rabbit ears. There are currently 1.8 million households on a waiting list to receive more than 3.3 million coupons to help offset the cost of purchasing digital television converter boxes. These government delays have mostly hit our small towns and rural communities. In the Fifth district of Virginia alone, there are more than 4,000 households on this waiting list. These households would be in danger of losing all television service if the transition were to go ahead as scheduled on Feb. 17.

For this reason, I voted in favor of S. 352, the DTV Delay Act, which will postpone the date of the analog-to-digital switch to June 12, 2009. This will allow thousands of families in rural areas more time to receive their coupons for the converter boxes so they will not “go dark.”

Make sure your household is ready for the switch to digital television. There is a 24-hour hotline to answer questions and take coupon requests: 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009). You may also visit to learn more about the digital transition and to ensure your household is ready.




February is Black History Month, and to honor the African-American heroes among us from the past, present, and future, I am launching an essay competition for children, teens, and adults.

1. Children’s Competition (Up to age 13)

Tell the story of an African-American hero from our nation’s history who has inspired your life and helped to shape your dreams. Entries may be in the form of a short essay (500 words max) and/or original artwork.

2. Teens’ Competition (Ages 14 to 19)

We’ve had the “Civil Rights generation,” the “Hip Hop generation,” and more in the African-American community. If you could name your generation of African-Americans, what would it be? What characteristics, culture and actions will define your generation? What legacy might your generation leave?

Entries may be in the form of an essay (1500 words max), original artwork, music and/or video. Any recorded submissions must be less than 5 minutes, in digital format, and uploadable. (e.g. .mp3, .mp4, .wav, etc.)

3. Adults’ Competition (Ages 20 and up)

Nominate an “unsung hero” from the community whom you feel should be written into today’s African-American history books for his or her extraordinary commitment to service. Give us some background on your nominee, what he or she contributes to Black History, and how he or she exemplifies a life of service.

Entries may be in essay form (1500 words max).

All entry submissions must be received at the Washington DC office no later than Monday, February 23 to be considered. You can email submissions to or fax them to 202.225.5681. Top entries from each category will be posted on our website, and the winners will be recognized at a public event with me. Feel free to call my office at 202.225.4711 with any questions. Thank you for participating in this unique way of recognizing Black History Month.


– Tom Perriello represents the Fifth District in the United States House of Representatives.

augusta free press
augusta free press