Tom Perriello held a town hall meeting in Fairfax this afternoon that attracted a crowd of about 75 people. It was an interesting turnout because it was mostly filled with people likely to vote in the Democratic primary, there were several people there who were undecided and coming out to learn more about Tom’s campaign.
The plain and simple fact that Tom was willing to set him apart from some of the other politicians out there right now. Rep. Barbara Comstock, for instance, has been refusing to hold an in person town hall with her constituents (even after her office advertised at least two different sets of “mobile office” hours) and quickly fled a recent parade she marched in so that she wouldn’t have to talk with anyone who might disagree with her.
Tom mentioned that he believed it was the duty of an elected official to meet with the public and held approximately 23 town hall meetings when he was in Congress. This was despite the fact that he was spit on, yelled at, and repeatedly stayed past midnight listening to people who were upset with his support of the Affordable Care Act and other progressive issues.
I think the town hall format works well for Tom because he’s able to work the crowd well and you could tell he was passionate about making a difference for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was also was able to show he’s knowledgeable about the issues while also showing a sense of humor. At one point, for example, he went to drink some water and commented that he wanted “to avoid a Marco Rubio moment.” At another point he commented on the hip hop soundtrack that was coming from an event on the floor above the town hall.
Even after the event he stuck around for a few minutes to take some more questions from people who had shown up but didn’t get to ask their questions. I got the sense that he genuinely enjoyed interacting with the public, especially when it came down to discussing policy.
I’ll be posting some video of his answers to some of the individual questions, but here’s video of the opening statement he made.