Armstrong runs for district judge

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 1, 2004

Bob Armstrong has a vision for Dallas County. To make that vision a reality, he needs your vote for district judge.

Armstrong, an attorney associated with Reeves & Stewart, a local law firm, declared his candidacy for Dallas County district judge on Friday. &uot;I have a real vision for this position,&uot; he said. &uot;We need a judge who is fair, who will listen and will treat everyone with respect and just be courteous. It’s really important.&uot;

Armstrong said he wanted to run for office to make his vision of a family resource center come true. A family resource center, which would be a &uot;one-stop shop&uot; for various programs such as CHASM, the youth development center, Anybody Can Recover, the Cahaba Mental Health Center and tutoring classes. &uot;A vision and a dream starts small,&uot; Armstrong said. &uot;This is a big vision and it wouldn’t happen immediately. They’re doing it in Hale County. We haven’t had the vision and the leadership here to do that. I’ve got the commitment and the passion to make it happen.&uot;

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The district judge is the county’s chief juvenile officer. According to Armstrong, Dallas County has a terrible juvenile problem. The family resource center would address that problem. As judge, he said he would examine a juvenile’s past and try to determine why he made the decisions he did. He’d then refer him or her to center services such as GED, drug and alcohol or teenage pregnancy programs, depending on the juvenile.

Armstrong said the family resource center would be a tool to use against crime. For example, Armstrong said that truancy is often an indicator of the direction a child is moving in. &uot;If someone’s truant, we’d call him in and talk to him,&uot; he said. We’d find out what’s going on at home and what his grades are like. Maybe they can’t read. Maybe they need tutoring. We’d order them to get it.&uot;

However, Armstrong noted that programs only go so far. &uot;Sometimes tough love is the only way,&uot; he said. &uot;You don’t do it out of meanness, but you’ve got to hold people accountable. They learn through discipline that’s fair that this isn’t the way they do. You don’t crush people. You help them.&uot;

Armstrong added that, &uot;You’re not going to save everybody, but you’re going to make a difference.

Concerning the Perry Varner Boot Camp, Armstrong said it would be a component of the family resource center. However, he added that Dallas County needed a juvenile detention center. &uot;When we put a juvenile in the detention center, we drive to Greensboro in Hale County,&uot; he said. &uot;That wastes time and money.&uot;

Armstrong, 44, was born and raised in Selma. He received his undergraduate degree from The University of Alabama in 1981 and graduated its law school in 1984. He’s been a licensed attorney for almost 20 years.

Armstrong has recently returned to Reeves & Stewart after a three-year stint with Peoples Bank & Trust as its senior vice-president and trust officer.

He’s married to Ann Armstrong and they have three children &045; Robert, 18, Reese, 15, and Catherine, 11.