By Zach Howard
GREENFIELD, Mass (Reuters) - Rhode Island freshman legislator Daniel Gordon said on Tuesday he will not resign despite pressure from colleagues following his arrest and extradition to face criminal charges in Massachusetts.
Police who originally arrested the state representative last week for driving with a suspended license discovered he had an outstanding warrant for missing a court appearance in connection with a 2008 police car chase in Massachusetts.
Gordon, 42, a Republican whose district includes Portsmouth, Tiverton, and Little Compton, Rhode Island, told Reuters he has a history of motor vehicle charges in Massachusetts.
He has previously faced other criminal charges including assault, attempted murder, weapons, and car theft, authorities say.
"I am not stepping down at all, period," said Gordon, who lives in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
Resignation would be a disservice to his constituents, and to fellow veterans, some of whom also suffer from similar stress problems and alcohol abuse because of past "combat-related experiences," said Gordon, who says his Marine service from 1987 to 1991 included posts in Kuwait and Iraq during Desert Storm.
Gordon plans to run for state office again in 2012, unless he hears from his constituents that they "no longer want me."
He added, "Then, I will gracefully step aside and let what they believe to be a better candidate run -- that's how the system works."
Rhode Island State Police initially charged him last week with driving with a suspended license after he went to a barracks on Wednesday seeking to file a "cyberstalking" complaint. Police said he claimed that unnamed bloggers were writing negative things about him.
After his subsequent arrest on a fugitive charge, he spent the weekend in Rhode Island state prison and eventually, on Monday, was arraigned at District Court in Fall River, Massachusetts. He was later released on $1,000 bail.
In the past, Gordon spent months in a Massachusetts jail over criminal charges, including the attempted murder of a girlfriend, authorities say.
In recent weeks, he came under fire from some fellow Rhode Island lawmakers for allegedly making disparaging comments about Republican colleagues. On September 7, the House Republican caucus voted to "expel" Gordon from its group.
He said his behavioral problems began years ago when he started to self-medicate with alcohol for post-traumatic stress disorder, following his return from serving overseas as a Marine. He said he attends counseling for PTSD.
Gordon is not the only Rhode Island state legislator facing criminal charges. Former House Minority Leader Robert Watson, a Republican, was charged with drunken driving and marijuana possession after a sobriety traffic stop in neighboring Connecticut.
Representative Leo Medina, a freshman Democrat, is accused of skimming proceeds from the life-insurance policy of a man's deceased daughter.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)