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Harwell: Resignation Temporary, Expects Todd Will Seek Re-Election

Rep. Curry Todd’s resignation from a key legislative committee post is only “temporary,” House Speaker Beth Harwell says.

She says she expects Todd, who was arrested last week for driving drunk with a loaded handgun, will still seek another term.

“I think Rep. Todd has every anticipation of running for re-election, and voters of his district will make that decision,” Harwell told TNReport Monday evening. “We will just have to wait and see what happens thereafter.”

Todd said in an e-mailed statement Monday he would resign from his post as chairman of the House of Representatives’ State and Local Government Committee “until this matter is resolved.”

“He indicated he does not want to distract from the work that must be done, and I appreciate his willingness to step aside so that we may focus on legislative business,” Harwell said late Monday in a media statement.

Harwell was out of state when news broke last week that Todd had been arrested in Nashville on DUI charges and possession of a gun while under the influence. A loaded Smith & Wesson 38 Special was found holstered and stuffed between the driver’s seat and the center console, according to police affidavits. Police said he admitted to consuming “two drinks” before failing field sobriety tests. He also refused a breathalyzer test.

Harwell’s comments Monday were her first public statements on Todd’s arrest.

“He should step down from the chairmanship for a temporary period so he can work through some issues in his own personal life,” Harwell told WSMV Monday.

In 2009 and 2010, Todd was the spokesman for the controversial “guns in bars” law that allows permitted handgun carriers to bring their weapons with them into drinking establishments. Although his arrest has triggered discussion about the integrity of the law, Harwell says she doesn’t think Todd’s actions jeopardize the law’s future.

Harwell said she hasn’t thought much about likening Todd’s arrest to that of former Rep. Rob Briley, who was charged with DUI and evading arrest after he led police on a 100 mile-per-hour chase in 2007. He, too, gave up his chairmanship but ultimately decided against running for re-election.

“I think Rep. Briley has made tremendous strides in turning himself around and doing what is best for himself and for his family and for the state, and I commend that, and I suspect that Rep. Todd will do the same thing,” Harwell said.

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