Tom Perriello

Spring 2018 Resident Fellow

Former Congressman from Virginia

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Tom Perriello is a former Congressman, diplomat, teacher and justice advocate who has spent more than two decades fighting for economic, democracy, environmental, and civil/human rights reforms in the United States and globally. During the Obama Administration, he served as US Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes Region and as Special Representative for the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. He has served as the CEO of Center for American Progress Action and WinVA, and was a co-founder of,, and Res Publica. He has written and lectured extensively about democracy reform and corruption, racial justice, and the coming threat of automation and monopoly. He taught at the University of Sierra Leone and University of Virginia School of Law, sits on the board of Indivisible and Planned Parenthood of Virginia, and serves as President of New Virginia Way.

Born and raised in Charlottesville, Tom represented Virginia’s Fifth District in Congress, where he supported landmark legislation, including President Obama’s Recovery/Stimulus Act, the Affordable Care Act, the Waxman-Markey Climate bill, the DREAM Act, Campus SAVE Act, and campaign finance reform. He received an A+ rating from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association for his work on the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Wise Leaders Award from the Truman National Security Project.

Tom now resides in Alexandria, Virginia. After running for Governor last year, Tom served as CEO of WinVA, an innovation hub for maximizing Democratic gains in the House of Delegates and experimented with new messages, policies and campaign tactics that helped to produce historic gains in 2017. Tom continues to support progressive causes and candidates in Virginia as President of New Virginia Way and host of the Clean Virginia Project, a bold new effort to hold electric monopolies accountable to consumers and convert the Commonwealth and the country to more job-rich, sustainable decentralized energy production. 

Tom served the Obama Administration leading the second Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), an executive review of State Department and USAID operations that encompass 80,000 employees and over $50 billion in annual expenditures. The report elevated the strategic importance of rising security threats from inequality and jobless growth, corruption and consolidation, climate change, and the political weaponization of othering. He then served as the US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, working to prevent mass atrocities and support peaceful, democratic transitions. Within the context of leadership from Congo’s Catholic bishops, his diplomatic efforts helped to produce an historic New Year’s Eve agreement that provides a blueprint for the first peaceful transition of power since the country’s independence in 1960. He remains actively involved in supporting peace negotiations and human rights in the region.       

Tom previously served as CEO of Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund and Counselor for Policy at CAP. His team championed bold solutions on inequality, voting rights, immigration reform, sensible gun safety, women’s rights, and family leave. He was previously the Special Advisor to the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone that forced brutal Liberian dictator Charles Taylor to peacefully surrender power. He has worked supporting peace negotiations and transitional justice efforts in conflict zones around the world, including in the Balkans, Darfur, Egypt, and Afghanistan. He has previously served on the boards of Namati, Center for Environmental Citizenship, and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Tom is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School.