Former Virginia Congressman Tom Perriello has done a pretty good job of putting his political past behind him. After an incredible upset win in 2008, Perriello represented the conservative 5th district admirably. He defended President Barack Obama's health care reform law in packed and heated town hall meetings.
His seat was a target for republicans, and despite an 11th hour visit from Obama, Perriello was unable to hold off a Robert Hurt and lost the seat after only one term.
Perriello's courage and his reliable liberal, social justice advocacy in a largely conservative district, drew him fans among blue voters across Virginia. Despite only serving for a short time, his upset win in 2008 and his close loss in 2010 made him a statewide name. His time in the spotlight has made it so that every time a potential opportunity to run for office pops up, Perriello's name is floated.
The former congressman told me that running for office is not something he is interested right now.
"I think you really got to feel the passion to do it," Perriello said. "Right now my passion is on the policy side."
Almost immediatley after his loss, Perriello went overseas. International advocacy is one of his passions. He studied the Arab Spring uprisings and returned to the States to work for a Washington think tank dedicated to building up the American middle class. He is also working to help President Obama get re-elected.
Perriello was floated as a potential candidate for U.S. Senate this year, before Tim Kaine decided he would run. There are many who would like him to consider a run for Attorney General in 2013.
At this point, the 37 year old Ivy League graduate isn't interested. However he did say it may not stay that way forever.
"Well I aged a lot in office, but I'm still not that old" he told me. "We'll see what happens down the road, but I'm certainly not considering anything in the near future."
In the meantime he plans to work with those who do get elected to get things done. He said he isn't all that concerned with which side of the political isle those willing help are sitting on.
"I'm interested in the ideas," he said, 'Having worked all around the world and seen that all these other countries aren't waiting around for us to get our act together, I want us to build, make and grow things here in America."
We will have to see if running for office is eventually part of that equation.
You can see my full interview with Tom Perriello here.