Tom Perriello | Fifth District Weekly Report
This week, I was blessed to be sworn in as our district’s representative in the 111th U.S. Congress. It’s a sacred duty to serve you in Washington, and I am already hard at work on strategies for economic revival for Southside and Central Virginia and for a new era of accountability for our corporate and government leaders.
Our district and our nation face a dire economic situation. The December report of the Bureau of Labor and Statistics stated that the U.S. economy lost 525,000 jobs in December, raising the unemployment rate to 7.2 percent and ending the worst year of job losses since the 1940s. In our own district in the City of Martinsville, the unemployment rate neared 15 percent in November.
This crisis also offers us a great opportunity to rebuild America’s competitive advantage and set a course towards energy independence. There is no quick fix, only the tough, long-term work to make our country competitive again. This means we need to train our workforce, invest in infrastructure, and put America back at the forefront of innovation in the green economy.
Congress will have an ambitious agenda in the coming weeks as we work aggressively to pass an economic recovery package. Those of us who are new to Washington from across the political aisle are making clear that there can be no more blank-check bailouts. Instead, we need a job-creation program with structure and accountability measures to ensure smart investment in our future economic competitiveness. I will be fighting for projects in the Fifth District that will create new, living-wage jobs and help our small businesses and homeowners survive.
This week, I was pleased to be named to the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. This Committee will play an important role in the upcoming economic recovery package as the nation looks to invest in public works and infrastructure projects that will both create jobs right away and produce long-term opportunities for growth and development. I fought for this important committee assignment so that I could best serve our Fifth District, which is in serious need of investments in new and improved highways, bridges, rail, and water systems.
Ridge Schuyler, former chief-of-staff to my colleague Congressman Rick Boucher in Virginia’s Ninth District, will be serving as your district director. He brings a tremendous amount of experience in agriculture and rural economic development issues, and knows both our district and Washington. He is already meeting with county administrators and city managers from every locality in the Fifth District to discuss the projects they want prioritized in the economic recovery package. Most of my staff members hail from the Fifth District, and are eager to serve you.
The congressional office is open for business and is excited to hear from you. Specifically, I would like to know what projects you think should be included in the economic recovery package. Please visit our website at www.perriello.house.gov and click on “Contact Me,” or call our Washington office at 202.225.4711.
This year will be a tough period for our district and our nation, but if we make the right decisions, I am confident that, together, we will be able to rebuild America’s competitiveness and write a great new chapter of Southside Virginia’s history.
– Tom Perriello represents the Fifth District in the U.S. Congress.