As the June 13 Gubernatorial primary for both major parties draws nearer expect to see visits, and repeat visits in some cases, from the candidates hoping to represent their parties in the November election to succeed Terry McAuliffe.
Democrat Tom Periello, the former one term Congressman in the 5th District, entered the race in January and is already running neck and neck with Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, who announced his bid over a year ago.
Periello toured Virginia Western Community College recently, checking out health science program labs and talking “free” two year college and trade/technical schools for Virginians as one of his campaign planks. Periello, who most recently worked for the State Department and has a history in the non-profit world, views community colleges as “a pathway” into the healthcare field, via nursing and other tracks – and “one of the best pathways into the middle class. This [school] has really become a gold standard.”
Taxpayer-supported free college or career and technical school training – for those just out of high school or even those making a mid-career switch “pays for itself,” Periello insisted, “by moving people into higher paying and therefore tax paying jobs in the community.” That also means healthier citizens and a healthier economy, he added.
On his tour of Virginia Western, Periello was able to view some rare, state of the art medical equipment (including one used for cancer screenings) and learn more about school programs.
As for catching up to Northam in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Periello said it was a little early to get too excited but added that, “it’s always better to be doing well in the polls. It shows that we are the best candidate for Democrats going into the fall.”
By Gene Marrano