Live from Virginia Tuesday morning on The John Fredericks Show – weekdays on WNTW AM 820/ FM 92.7 – Richmond, WJFN FM 100.5 – Central Virginia, WMPH AM 1010 / FM 100.1 / FM 96.9 (7-9 PM) Hampton Roads, WBRG AM 1050 / FM 105.1 – Lynchburg/Roanoke and Weekdays 6-10 am and 24/7 Stream – host Fredericks welcomed Virginia lieutenant governor candidate Democrat Sean Perryman to the show to describe his campaign and the race as a first time elected official.
Fredericks: Joining us now is Sean Perryman. And Sean is a candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia – a Democrat. Hey Sean. Great to have you with us.
Perryman: Hey, thank you for having me. Good morning.
Fredericks: Sean, tell me about your race.
Perryman: Well I think it’s going to be an interesting one. Whoever comes out of the 2021 election is going to have to deal with the post-COVID recovery, whether that’s with a vaccine or without a vaccine. We are running and getting ready to announce soon. And I think that we’re able to speak to some of the issues that are going to be pressing us and the commonwealth both now and in the years to come.
Fredericks: You are Fairfax’s NAACP president running for lieutenant governor. You really have no political experience in elected office. You are going up against some pretty big heavyweights. How do you navigate your way through this kind of a race?
Perryman: Well, I think the lane for us is that most people don’t look at Democrat or Republican or political or non-political. A lot of people that are running are saying I’ve been a legislator for two or three years, and I deserve a promotion. We are not saying that.
We are saying that we are living in a moment that the government hasn’t served us. I would say I have plenty of policy experience – tech policy, artificial intelligence, immigration, all sorts of issues. So I think I have both the experience and the leadership experience, more importantly, to speak to this moment and step up into the position.
Fredericks: How many candidates are in the race now?
Perryman: Everyone and their cousin are rumored to be jumping in. (Fredericks chuckles) Right now it’s Delegate Hala Ayala, who is the only declared candidate from Prince William. And then I think Paul Goldman on the Democratic side. There is a number of people like myself exploring the committee. We’ve got a lot of momentum, and I think I’m going to announce here pretty soon, but I can’t speak for everyone else who is looking at it.
Fredericks: Well probably there are going to be a lot of people in that pool. Goldman certainly, a former executive director of the Democratic party under Governor Wilder, who’s been around for a long time. Not sure if he’s got the ability to raise money or if he’s a serious candidate. Ayala, she’s relatively new and not a lot of experience. So I think the lane is kind of wide open because you just don’t know what is going to happen. Let’s talk about what’s going on in Richmond and some of the violence of these riots.
We just did a story in The Virginia Star. We have over $4 million in damage. People who have lost their businesses, stores burned down. There is graffiti, F this, F that. Even though Levar Stoney has an anti-graffiti division, he chooses not to take the graffiti in order not to defend the rioters. If you are lieutenant governor, how are you going to deal with what is going on right now in Richmond?
Perryman: Honestly, I think what you are speaking to I would call a lot of those people are protesters. There are some people that are being violent. But what we need more so than anything, no matter what side of the aisle you are on, is that we need actual leadership. I’m the lieutenant governor and I’m in the capital. I’m going to come out there and speak to folks. And I think we need to unite. is not only happening here but happening across our nation.
And rather than trying to figure out what kind of consensus can we reach because everyone was outraged about the murder of George Floyd. Every single person that I have encountered. And I think what we need are people that can bring us together and say look, we are all in this terrible situation. Whether it’s the pandemic. And whether it makes our community safe. We need leadership that speaks up and says, let’s stop polarizing everyone. Let’s come together and figure out how we remake this community in a way that makes sense.
Fredericks: I get what you are saying, Sean. I’m all for leadership in Richmond. I don’t think Levar Stoney has provided any of it. But in our Virginia Star report today, 48 fires were intentionally set. If you are lieutenant governor, are you going to come out and condemn the violence?
I don’t have a problem with people coming out and protesting. That’s their right. But 48 fires have been set Sean and $4 million in damage. What do you say to people whose businesses have been burned down there? If you were lieutenant governor would you condemn these violent fires and riots and tell people to just stop? That’s what we’re asking.
Perryman: If I were lieutenant governor, I would come out and tell people that we hear you and that we are going to do something. And we are going to take action to address the concerns. But I would tell people that violence is not the answer. I’ve never condoned anyone being violent at any time. Whether that’s armed men coming to Richmond to talk about having to wear a mask, or whether that’s people setting fires.
What we need more so than anything though is to address the actual issue that are leading to this. Whether that be police violence. Whether that be of people just feeling unheard in the city of Richmond. I’ve seen time and time again scores of people who get randomly tear-gassed. That’s not acceptable. So I would speak to both of those issues. We need to get some sort of control over that city. And that includes the police violence as well. I would not leave that out.
Fredericks: What about the police chief getting fired in Portsmouth, Virginia, Sean? What did you think of that?
Perryman: I followed obviously what happened with the Senator there being charged with a felony, and I do think that that police chief overreached. I can’t speak to the details of everything and why they were fired, but I had real concerns about NAACP members and a State Senator being charged with a felony for something that they weren’t directly involved in.
Fredericks: Sean, you are from Northern Virginia. There is a big vote there. How do you appeal downstate? How do you appeal to Hampton Roads? Southwest Virginia, not that there aren’t many Democratic votes there, Charlottesville and the central, Blackburg? What is your appeal outside of NoVa?
Perryman: I look at it is this and I speak to the three E’s for everyone. Education, economics, and equity. Coming out of this we need to get people working. Whether you are in Northern Virginia or rural Virginia, probably even more so in rural Virginia, you need to be able to earn a living, and that includes getting jobs down there.
I come from working in the tech sector. What I would want to do is if you are a tech company coming into Virginia, you need to educate our workforce at a low cost, and that includes computer camps to get people to learn tech skills. But more so than anything with the equity piece, you need to have internet access. And it’s ridiculous that we are living in a pandemic and there are parts of Southwest Virginia that I call who can’t get on a Zoom meeting because they don’t have good enough internet. So that’s not only an education issue, that becomes an economic issue.
And I think I can speak to those. As someone who comes being used to a place where politicians aren’t thinking about what a community is thinking about. And in those communities, we’ve sort of left them behind in some ways. And we need to look at the connectivity issue down there and some of the basics which are the same for everyone. Education, economics, and equity. Making sure everyone is brought along with us.
Listen to the full interview here: