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December 11, 2008

Press Release: Martinsville Bulletin

Thursday, December 11, 2008

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

The United States should use the economic crisis to figure out ways to ensure a similar crisis does not occur in the future, once this one is over, according to 5th District Congressman-elect Tom Perriello.

A lot of problem-solving is necessary, Perriello told the Fieldale-Collinsville Rotary Club on Wednesday.

That includes finding ways to prevent more industries from having to seek bailouts from the federal government, he indicated.

"We can't keep doing blank-check bailouts," Perriello said, mentioning he thinks that is much the same as rewarding companies "for bad behavior."?

But while he is opposed to bailouts, he was glad to see Congress take more time to negotiate a proposed $14 billion automobile industry bailout package than it did to develop the recent $700 billion bailout for the financial sector.

Taking a few weeks to consider the auto industry bailout helped lawmakers prepare a better plan, said Perriello, a Democrat from Albemarle County.

"We saw the sky didn't fall down," he said, indicating that a bailout was not needed immediately to keep automobile makers from going out of business.

Following the Nov. 4 election, the Virginia State Board of Elections certified Perriello as the winner of the 5th District congressional race by 745 votes over six-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode Jr., R-Rocky Mount.

Goode has formally requested a recount, which is scheduled for Tuesday.

About 315,000 votes will have to be retabulated. Then the results will be sent to a three-judge panel in Albemarle for certification the following day, said Jessica Barba, communications director for Perriello's campaign.

However, Perriello already is in the process of setting up his Washington office, and he is scheduled to be sworn into office Jan. 6.

He plans to immediately get to work with other lawmakers on preparing an economic recovery plan requested by President-elect Barack Obama.

Obama will be administered his oath of office Jan. 20. He wants that plan to be on his desk in the Oval Office the following day, Perriello said.

But in the meantime, he said, "the economy is horrible, and it's probably going to get worse" before it gets better.

Whatever recovery plan is presented to Obama, Perriello said he wants it to include relief aimed at small rural localities such as Henry County-Martinsville.

Perriello, who frequently visited the area during his campaign, said helping the area recover will remain "a top priority for me" as a congressman.

"This community has been hit harder than most" by economic problems, he pointed out.

He wants the recovery plan to put money into the hands of consumers and investors, as well as provide more credit to small businesses, he said.

"This is not a time to be raising taxes on anyone," he emphasized.

Perriello said he will push for funding for work force development efforts and construction of Interstate 73. Economic developers have said the interstate, which is to run through Henry County, would help the area lure companies that would produce new jobs.

The Fieldale-Collinsville Rotary Club was the first Rotary club that Perriello visited as a candidate. He said his visit to the club Wednesday was his first Rotary club visit as the 5th District's presumed new congressman.

Also during his visit to the area Wednesday, Perriello toured the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville.