Del. Ward Armstrong, D-Henry County, is getting ready to pack up his legislative office and vacate the General Assembly Building following his election loss last month to Republican Charles Poindexter of Franklin County.
“There’s 20 years of memories to pack up,” Armstrong said today as he looked around his sixth-floor office. “It’s clearly the end of a chapter. But it’s not an epilogue.”
Armstrong was in Richmond today to attend his final meeting of the Commission on the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program. He plans to pack up the belongings in his office on Saturday, he said.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and been the minority leader for four and virtually every item in this office has some sentimental value,” he said.
There’s the battle helmet he donned for a floor speech in his early days as a delegate, framed newspaper articles (including a Roanoke Times profile by Mason Adams on Armstrong’s weight loss), a family portrait taken on the Capitol grounds during his first year in office. In the photo, which Armstrong and his wife Pam used for their family Christmas card, older daughter Courtney was four years old and younger daughter Whitney was just six months old. Courtney is now a law school student and Whitney attends the University of Virginia.
Armstrong, a train buff, also has old Norfolk and Western Railway lanterns on his window sills and O. Winston Link photographs hanging on the walls.
Armstrong was upbeat and said his election defeat has neither discouraged him nor dissuaded him from considering a run for statewide office in 2013.
“For a guy who cries at supermarket openings, I’ve not shed a tear in defeat and I won’t,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said he’ll take some time to sort out his political future, but he won’t disappear from Richmond. He owns a house in the city and said he plans to expand his law practice into Richmond while maintaining his law office in Martinsville. In addition to boosting his law practice, he’ll be able to stay near the pulse of state politics as he considers his future.
– Michael Sluss