Armstrong resigns as state representative

Veteran state Rep. Joe Armstrong, who was convicted Aug. 8 of filing a false income tax return, said Friday he has retired from representing the 15th District House seat, reports the News Sentinel.

Armstrong, a Democrat who first took office in 1988, said he took care of the paperwork in Nashville on Thursday. He said he hand-delivered papers to the Tennessee Consolidated Retired System and letters to the offices of the governor, House speaker and majority leader.

“I’m trying to follow protocol,” Armstrong said.

He said he was prompted to retire after Gov. Bill Haslam called for a special session beginning Monday to resolve an issue that could cost the state $60 million in federal highway funds that were in jeopardy after the state passed a law that made changes to Tennessee’s DUI law.

…Armstrong said he considered providing an excuse for not attending the special session because of other commitments.

“I decided since I’m not going to be a part of that, I got to think that I’d go ahead and submit my retirement,” he said.

He said about eight other people already have announced they will not attend the special session.

“He (the governor) has the votes. I’m retired. I’ll be a constituent,” Armstrong said.

Note: House Speaker Beth Harwell has declared that ouster of state Rep. Jeremy Durham will be considered during next week’s special session and others — notably including House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick — have said that the expulsion of Armstrong should be taken up as well.

Armstrong’s brief letter say his retirement/resignation is effective Monday, Sept. 12, the day the special session begins. A copy of the letter is available by clicking on this link: armstrong-resignation