Rep. Tom Garrett, a first-term Republican who represents Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, announced on Monday that he is an alcoholic and will not be seeking re-election.
“Any person—Republican, Democrat or independent—who has known me for any period of time and has any integrity knows two things: I am a good man and I’m an alcoholic,” Garrett reportedly said in Richmond. “This is the hardest statement that I have ever publicly made by far. It’s also the truth.”
The announcement follows a tumultuous week for Garrett.
First, his chief of staff resigned, prompting reports that suggested his term could be his first and last in Congress. That reporting led to Garrett holding a rambling news conference in which he insisted that he would run again in November. Another report from Politico followed, describing a hostile work environment in which staff and interns were allegedly asked to do things like clean up dog poop.
“The recent attacks on my family and myself were a series of half truths and full lies,” Garrett said Monday in response to the reports.
“I am not dying,” he continued. “I am starting anew with work and dedication. Great things can be done. This isn’t an ending for me or my values of service to my fellow man. It’s just a new beginning.”
Garrett is the 44th Republican member of Congress to announce retirement, seeking another office, or resigning this term.