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Co-Director George Goehl Calls the Candidate Virginia’s Antidote to a Dangerous Profit-Before-People-And-Planet Ideology

WASHINGTON – People’s Action, a national alliance of grassroots organizations, announced May 19 that it is endorsing Tom Perriello in the Virginia Democratic primary for governor.

The endorsement means that People’s Action will mobilize volunteers and other resources to inform voters that Perriello is the best candidate to challenge an unprecedented concentration of wealth and power, and ongoing racial injustice.

“We need bold elected officials like Tom Perriello who will put people and our planet before corporate profit,” said George Goehl, co-director of People’s Action. “Perriello is the antidote to Trumpism, neoliberalism and racism: a candidate who will stand up for racial and gender justice, champion policies that expand economic equity and power to all Virginians, and stop the rich and corporations from corrupting our democracy.”

“He is a candidate who embraces a new movement politics that puts people power at the center of our democracy instead of concentrated wealth,” said Goehl.

Perriello is the first gubernatorial candidate among those People’s Action has either already endorsed or will endorse around the country as the resistance transitions from protest to power.

“We endorsed Perriello because he brings a fresh set of ideas and energy at a time when Virginia has to move in a more progressive direction to bring about the economic and racial equity that the people of this state need,” said Janice “Jay” Johnson of Newport News, Va., board president of People’s Action.

“We as average citizens of Virginia are not at the table, and a lot of us are frustrated by that. Perriello has proven that he is a good listener; he hears what we say about the solutions that we need, is more inclusive and brings a wide range of experiences beyond Virginia into the conversation,” said Johnson.

Perriello won the endorsement during a process led by a panel of nine leaders of People’s Action in Virginia who reviewed questionnaires submitted by Perriello and the other declared Democratic candidate, lieutenant governor Ralph Northam, and conducted interviews with both candidates.

They measured the candidates’ positions against the People’s Action “Rise Up: From Protest to Power” platform that was unveiled at the organization’s founding convention in Washington in April. Their decision was unanimous.

The positions that earned Perriello the People’s Action endorsement include:

  • Support for a $15 minimum wage.
  • Repeated stands against the unprecedented concentration of wealth and power in the state, and the toxic politics of racism and sexism in Virginia and across America.
  • Opposition to fracked gas pipelines and support for investments in green energy.
  • Commitment to a progressive system of taxation that ends corporate subsidies and makes the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.
  • Pledging to fight “new Jim Crow” legal codes, systemic racism in mass incarceration and the for-profit prison industry.

People’s Action and its affiliates intend to make endorsements in hundreds of races in this election cycle, including some Virginia state legislative races later this year.

Many of the candidates will be from among the 72 who pledged during the People’s Action convention to run for office during a session that featured former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and was attended by more than 1,000 activists from around the country. People’s Action has commitments from more than 400 others in its organizations to run for office within the next five years as part of a joint candidate slate running on our Rise Up! platform.

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People’s Action was formed last year in a rare merger of five national organizations, each with decades of organizing and activism history, creating one of the largest grassroots, people-powered networks in the country. People’s action is more than a million people across 30 states working for economic, racial, gender and climate justice – and to ensure everyone a voice in our political system.

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About People’s Action

People’s Action is a national network of 38 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. Our organization recently released a vision for a national Homes Guarantee that has already prompted major legislation from champions including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. Prior to endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, we completed a national forum series that The Nation called “the most in-depth, people-powered forum” of the 2020 cycle.”

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