Amid Scandal, Ore. Gov. Kitzhaber Announces Resignation
Under a cloud of pressure and scrutiny, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber announced his resignation on Friday, cutting short his record-setting fourth term in office.
The governor had said as recently as Wednesday that he would stay in office. Kitzhaber and his fiancée Cylvia Hayes face a criminal investigation and political pressure over allegations of selling access to his office.
The governor said his resignation will take effect on Tuesday, February 17 at 10 a.m. He released a statement that read, in part:
"It is not in my nature to walk away from a job I have undertaken — it is to stand and fight for the cause. For that reason I apologize to all those people who gave of their faith, time, energy and resources to elect me to a fourth term last year and who have supported me over the past three decades. I promise you that I will continue to pursue our shared goals and our common cause in another venue."
Secretary of State Kate Brown, a Democrat like Kitzhaber, will assume the office. She will also be the nation's first openly bisexual governor.
Kitzhaber has consistently maintained that he and Hayes worked hard to avoid conflicts between her public and private roles.