Oregon Governor Resigns In Wake Of Green Scandal
Disgraced Democratic Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced his resignation Friday, just after noon, local time. The newly re-elected governor was brought down by a scandal concerning his fiancee’s dealings with green energy groups.
Kitzhaber announced his resignation in a letter sent to Secretary of State Kate Brown, who will assume the governor’s office following Kitzhaber’s departure. Brown will be the nation’s first openly bisexual governor.
The announcement was to the point.
“Dear Secretary Brown:
Effective February 18, 2015, at 10 a.m., I am resigning my position as governor of Oregon.
John A. Kitzhaber, M.D.”
Kitzhaber’s Democratic allies had almost totally abandoned him by Friday, as the state treasurer, speaker of the House, and Senate president had all issued statements demanding his resignation. The governor himself apparently vacillated, according to The Oregonian, originally deciding to resign on Tuesday before changing his mind Wednesday, but then recommitting after seeing his lack of support.
Kitzhaber was brought down by a scandal concerning the consulting and policy work conducted by his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes. Reports have revealed that Hayes was advising several state employees on energy policy while simultaneously receiving payments from the Clean Economy Development Center, a direct conflict of interest. Last week, The Oregonian called on Kitzhaber to resign– a call that many others quickly took up.
Oregon Senate Minority Leader Republican Ted Ferrioli spoke shortly before Kitzhaber’s statement came out.
“What should be a day of celebration [because of Presidents Day] is turning into a day of reflection and mourning,” Ferrioli said to a crowd near the capitol. “We appear to be nearing the resignation of our governor and the investiture of a new governor.” He said he would not be attending Brown’s swearing in, but would instead return home in order to “grieve” Kitzhaber’s downfall.
Ferrioli also urged Brown to abandon several of Kitzhaber’s policies, in particular his “failed and corrupt energy policy.”
Kitzhaber was among Oregon’s most distinguished politicians, serving two terms as governor in the 90s and then returning to office in 2011. He was sworn in to a fourth term just three weeks ago.
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