Ex-CO Sen. Bill Armstrong remembered for work, faith
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (AP) — Former Colorado Sen. William Armstrong, a major conservative voice during the Reagan administration, was remembered for his work ethic, his faith and his joy during a memorial service Friday.
Armstrong died last week after a five-year battle with cancer at the age of 79.
During the service at Cherry Hills Community Church, former campaign manager and friend Terry Considine remembered meeting with Armstrong about a week before his death. Knowing the end was near, Considine offered to help Armstrong finish some of the things on his remaining to-do list but was surprised to learned there were 146 items on it.
“He was working until the very end,” he said.
A devout Christian as well as a staunch conservative, Armstrong was a media executive before entering politics. He served as director of the evangelical group Campus Crusade for Christ after retiring from the Senate in 1991 and later as president of Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado.
After serving in the state Legislature and U.S. House, he was first elected to the Senate in 1978 and served two terms, spending much of his time focusing on economic issues. He sponsored an amendment to a 1981 tax bill that indexed federal income tax brackets to compensate for inflation. He also played a major role in a fight in the early 1980s over putting Social Security on sound financial footing.
In 1981, Armstrong led conservative opposition to then-President Ronald Reagan’s proposed budget, contending the administration was not doing enough to cut long-term federal deficits. The move forced the administration to come up with a compromise closer to Armstrong’s position. Two years later, as a member of a Reagan-appointed commission to come up with a plan to solve Social Security’s financial problems, Armstrong said proposed solutions were focusing too much on raising Social Security taxes and not enough on cutting future benefits. Armstrong fought for — and lost — his proposal to raise the retirement age for Social Security recipients.
He was also a sponsor and a leading advocate of a proposed constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget.
Armstrong is survived by his wife, Ellen, two children and eight grandchildren.
Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered flags on state buildings be flown at half-staff to honor Armstrong on Friday.
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