Constituents react to lawmaker's resignation and guilty plea - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Constituents react to lawmaker's resignation and guilty plea

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MONTGOMERY CO., AL (WSFA) -
A resignation and arrest with potential statewide implications- Montgomery lawmaker Greg Wren resigned from his post in the House of Representatives Tuesday and turned himself into authorities.

Wren promptly went before a judge and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor ethics violation relating to use of his office for personal gain.
   
Specifically, prosecutors say he accepted a lucrative consulting contract in exchange for pushing certain legislation.

In addition to giving up his seat, Wren will pay $24,000 in restitution and serve two years of unsupervised probation.

Wren has been relatively uncontroversial during his four terms in office. So in his district, which covers parts of Montgomery and Elmore Counties, many constituents were surprised by his abrupt resignation and guilty plea.

Those we spoke to say they never expected to see the Republican in hot water. 

"I was shocked that he would do something like that. I honestly thought that he was a better person than that," said Rebecca Walker. 

"It's nice to know that he admitted to it and is being truthful about it and is willing to suffer any consequences that he has to. Although, we are all subject to doing things we shouldn't do but he owned up to it. So that's the adult thing about it," added Shirley Hardmon. 

"It doesn't matter which party you represent. Any type of corruption that you have in office- I don't care if it's Democrat, Republican or Independent- they need to swing for it. You just can't allow that sort of thing. They're there for public service not for their own personal gratitude," Jim Smith told WSFA. 

Hearing that Wren, as part of is plea deal, is cooperating in with the Attorney General's Office in their ongoing investigation has many curious to see the results of the probe into alleged corruption at high levels of state government.

"I feel like it's sad because people put their trust in legislators and the people elect them and they trust that they're going to do their job according to the ethics regulations set out and when this comes about, personally, it just makes me wonder whether or not there's a whole lot more of that going on then we really know about," said Kara Cosby. "As a taxpayer, I think that those legislators should really be in the best interest of the people and not in the best interest of themselves or their businesses."

"I don't like the corruption. It's getting worse and worse. We need to get better about doing our job. We vote for you to do a job and you should do that job and no other job," added Shirley Hardmon. 

Greg Wren was a four-term veteran of the Legislature. He was first elected to the State House in 1994 and left the legislature between 2002 and 2006, returning in 2006.

The 59-year-old had already announced in January that he would not seek re-election when his term ends in November. Wren and his attorney said his retirement has nothing to do with the state's investigation. 

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