It is with a heavy heart that we write about the news of Rep. Tom Garrett’s decision to not seek re-election to another term in congress. Garrett represents Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, which stretches from Warrenton to Danville.
Garrett made his announcement Monday afternoon in a video filmed in Richmond. He admitted to being an alcoholic. He said, “This isn’t an ending for me or my values of service to my fellow man. It’s just a new beginning.”
Garrett is a member of the Freedom Caucus who has earned high marks from Conservative Review, Heritage Action, American Conservative Union, the Family Foundation, and many other conservative watchdog organizations. He offered an amendment to the last omnibus spending bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Garrett then sponsored a resolution to require every member of congress to read every bill before a vote, a necessary move in the wake of the ridiculous way the last omnibus spending bill was passed. Garrett sponsored an innovative bill that will help student loan debt and keep social security from going bankrupt at the same time. And Garrett may have even saved a man’s life when, through his position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he helped to free an imprisoned Christian missionary from a Sudanese jail.
As a state senator, Garrett stood up to Tommy Norment when Norment tried to make himself chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in addition to Senate Majority Leader. Garrett did so on the principle that such a move would vest too much power in one office. And Garrett did so without trying to advance himself; he pushed one of his colleagues for either position based on seniority over himself, because his objection was grounded in constitutional principles, not on self advancement. As you can imagine, Garrett was not rewarded with a committee chairmanship for this move against leadership.
As a commonwealth’s attorney, Garrett applied the law equally in all the cases that came to his office and there are no examples to the contrary.
Last Thursday it looked like Garrett was going to announce this news then. But he didn’t. Instead he turned the buzz into media attention for a story about one of his constituents who is having trouble adopting a child from Senegal. Garrett has been working hard to help this woman who even had to walk away from her job as head coach of UVA women’s basketball in-order to focus on jumping through all the bureaucratic loops that are in the way. Garrett and his office have been doing everything they can to help her and hopefully last week’s press conference will apply the pressure needed to finish the job.
I know Tom personally. He’s a good guy. He’s a down to Earth conservative who carries his faith in God with him in everything he does. Tom is the kind of guy you want to sit down with and have a lengthy discussion as he is incredibly intelligent and well-read on a wide variety of topics. He can handle this and I’m confident he’ll rise above it all. I am proud to call him a friend.
The 5th Congressional District Republican Committee will meet to select a nominee for this seat because we are passed the certification period for nomination.