Local GOP divided over resignation

House Speaker John Boehner’s surprise announcement Friday that he will resign from Congress at the end of October drew mixed reactions from area Republicans in Congress and a tea party activist.

Many of those involved in national politics attributed Boehner’s impending departure to discontent with his leadership among the most conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives, some of whom had been gearing up for an attempt to oust him as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The two members of Congress representing parts of the Shenandoah Valley in Congress issued written statements that combined respect and gratitude for Boehner’s performance with calls for their fellow Republicans in Congress to pull together.

U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, called Boehner “a tireless public servant for his constituents.”

“I respect his courageous decision to step down at the end of October in an effort to unite the Republican conference, and I thank him for his leadership in the House, as well as his personal friendship over the years,” Goodlatte said.

U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-McLean, fondly cited her years of working with Boehner, first as a congressional staff member and now as a member.

Comstock praised Boehner as “a class act” and an “honorable man of faith and conviction who has always served his constituents and the American people – particularly children and the most vulnerable – in a faithful and consistent way.”

Comstock called on her fellow Republicans to “come together, unify and move forward and lead on the many challenges we have facing our country,” a wish also shared by Goodlatte.

“Now is the time for House Republicans to renew our resolve to unite and plot a path forward to address the issues facing the American people today,” Goodlatte said.

The divisions that led to Boehner’s demise were evident in comments from Dody Stottlemyer, president of the Apple Valley Tea Party. Stottlemyer, who described herself as “a recovering Democrat” and “not really a Republican,” said Boehner’s resignation is coming “not a moment too soon.”

“He hasn’t been too concerned about our national security and our debt,” Stottlemyer said of Boehner.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com