David L. Armstrong

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David L. Armstrong
48th Mayor of Louisville
In office
January 1, 1999 – January 5, 2003
Preceded byJerry Abramson
Succeeded byJerry Abramson
Jefferson County Judge/Executive
In office
Preceded byHarvey I. Sloane
Succeeded byRebecca Jackson
45th Attorney General of Kentucky
In office
GovernorMartha Layne Collins
Wallace Wilkinson
Preceded bySteve Beshear
Succeeded byFrederic J. Cowan
Commonwealth's Attorney for Jefferson County, Kentucky
In office
Preceded byEdwin Schroering
Succeeded byPaul Richwalsky
Personal details
David Lawrence Armstrong

(1941-08-06)August 6, 1941
Hope, Arkansas, U.S.
DiedJune 15, 2017(2017-06-15) (aged 75)
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materMurray State University (BA), University of Louisville (JD)
ProfessionAttorney, judge, politician

David Lawrence Armstrong (August 6, 1941 – June 15, 2017) was an American politician. He served as the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky from 1999 to 2003. He was the city's last mayor before its merger with Jefferson County to form Louisville Metro.

Early life and education[edit]

Armstrong was born in Hope, Arkansas. He was raised in Madison, Indiana. He attended Hanover College, where he became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, before graduating from Murray State University in 1966. He earned a J.D. from the University of Louisville school of law in 1969.

Early career[edit]

Following graduation Armstrong worked in the public and private sector, including a term as a family court judge and election as Jefferson County's Commonwealth's Attorney, the local felony prosecutor. In 1983 Armstrong was elected Attorney General of Kentucky. He ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1987, losing in the Democratic primary to Brereton C. Jones.

Mayor of Louisville[edit]

Prior to becoming mayor, he had served as Jefferson County Judge/Executive from 1989 until 1999. The city of Louisville was merged with Jefferson County near the end of his term; Armstrong was a supporter of the ballot measure that brought about the merger.

His term had several successes, most notably his support for the revitalization of Downtown Louisville. Some of the projects he championed were expansions of the medical district, a $111 million Marriott hotel, Fourth Street Live! and Louisville Glassworks. The Louisville Extreme Park, renamed in his honor in 2015, was one of his signature accomplishments as Mayor.

Armstrong's term as mayor was marked by several controversies. Several NBA teams at least considered a move to Louisville during his term, but nothing materialized. Armstrong was criticized for not exploring the possibility of a downtown arena for such a team, although Armstrong rebutted that he shouldn't have been singlehandedly expected to lure a franchise to Louisville. Nevertheless, some, including members of the city's NBA pursuit team, blamed Armstrong for a lack of leadership on the issue.

Perhaps his most notable controversy was the firing of Police Chief Gene Sherrard. Sherrard, without the mayor's knowledge, had approved valor awards for two officers involved in a deadly shooting with racial overtones. The officers had been cleared of charges in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Desmond Rudolph. The firing won praise from the African American community, but enraged police officers and supporters, leading to a march on Louisville City Hall.

Armstrong did not run to be the first mayor of Metro Louisville, where he would have been a heavy underdog to Jerry Abramson. In early 2007 Armstrong stated that he was considering a campaign for Governor of Kentucky, though he eventually chose not to run.

Armstrong died on June 15, 2017.[1]


  1. ^ Shafer, Sheldon S. (June 15, 2017). "Dave Armstrong, last mayor of the old City of Louisville, dies at 75". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
Political offices
Preceded by
Jerry Abramson
Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky
January 1, 1999–January 5, 2003
Succeeded by
Jerry Abramson (as mayor of Metro Louisville)
Legal offices
Preceded by
Harvey I. Sloane
Jefferson County Judge/Executive (Kentucky)
Succeeded by
Rebecca Jackson
Preceded by
Steve Beshear
Attorney General of Kentucky
Succeeded by
Frederic Cowan
Preceded by
Edwin Schroering
Commonwealth's Attorney for Jefferson County, Kentucky
Succeeded by
Paul Richwalsky