U.S. Congressman Tom Garrett speaking with attendees at the 2017 Young Americans for Liberty National Convention at the Sheraton Reston Hotel in Reston, Virginia.

Former U.S. Representative Tom Garrett announced his campaign for the GOP nomination in Virginia’s House of Delegates District 56, where he’ll face Jennie Wood, a marketing director and fundraising consultant with experience in the Goochland GOP unit and State Senator Mark Peake’s (R-Lynchburg) legislative office.

In 2018, Garrett announced he wouldn’t seek reelection to Congress, citing problems with alcoholism, according to Politicowhich reported the congressman and his wife had used official staff for personal errands and chores. At the time, Garrett partially denied the allegations but said, “there’s one area where I haven’t been honestThe tragedy is that any person Republican, Democrat or independent who’s known me for period of time and has any integrity knows two things: I am a good man and I am an alcoholic.”

On Tuesday, by the Virginia Civil Rights Monument, he announced his campaign for Virginia’s House. He told The Richmond Times-Dispatch“I’m an alcoholic. I’ll always be an alcoholic,” adding, “I haven’t had to drink in four-and-a-half years. As soon as I start declaring victory over anything, it will come back and tap me on the shoulder.”

Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) is backing Garrett, saying personal past difficulties shouldn’t be a barrier to public office. He said the “establishment in D.C.” worked against Garrett.

“He was one of the first people to see the struggle developing between parents wanting to protect their kids and a government incessantly pushing an agenda on them,” Freitas told The Virginia Star. “He effectively stood against it. On every issue I care about from individual liberty, property rights, second amendment rights, protecting the unborn, education reform, tax and regulatory reform, Tom has a record I can trust.”

The Star’s Publisher John Fredericks said, “I know Tom Garrett well. He’s a good man. I’ve supported his past races for State Senate and Congress. I believe in second chances. God and my family and my closest friends gave me the biggest most heartwarming second chance life has to offer. If my wife didn’t stand by me when life crumbled I’d be dead. I’m wishing Tom gets that chance from people who don’t know him like we do.”

Jennie Wood announced her candidacy for the seat in June, and is planning a kickoff later this month. Her campaign website also touts typical GOP primary issues including medical freedom, pro-life policies, education, rural infrastructure, and guns. She told The Star that small business is important to her, in part because her father immigrated to the U.S. from Brazil.

“He built an amazing life for my family from nothing, absolutely nothing. And seeing how he just took a simple opportunity and turned it into a good life has inspired me to want to keep that alive in America,” she said. “So I’m very passionate about small businesses.”

Wood said, “In the end, people will see the difference. People know the stories. A simple Google search will tell you all you need to know, and I have faith that good will prevail in the end.”


Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. This article originally appeared in The Virginia Star. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. Republished with permission.