Oregon Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber announced his resignation from office today by sending a letter to Secretary of State Kate Brown.
Kitzhaber and his representatives did not make any announcements outside of the written letter, which circulated via email on Friday, just after 12 p.m.
Given Kitzhaber’s resignation, Brown will be sworn in as Oregon’s 37th governor.
Following an investigation regarding Kitzhaber’s fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, Kitzhaber said he felt it best to step away from his position as Governor.
“I have always had the deepest respect for the remarkable institution that is the Oregon Legislature; and for the office of the Governor. And I cannot in good conscience continue to be the element that undermines it. I have always tried to do the right thing and now the right thing to do is to step aside,” read Kitzhaber’s letter of resignation.
Hayes is being investigated for ethical concerns in several areas, including undisclosed funds for her consulting business and former association with a marijuana grow operation.
Oregon’s office of the Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum issued a statement that noted Kitzhaber’s resignation will not affect the ongoing criminal investigation into allegations of Hayes’ and Kitzhaber’s conduct. The statement read, “Oregonians deserve nothing less than a full and fair investigation of all the facts, as well as the opportunity to reach a resolution that will truly allow our state to move forward.”
In his resignation letter, Kitzhaber commented on the controversy surrounding Hayes.“I must also say that it is deeply troubling to me to realize that we have come to a place in the history of this great state of ours where a person can be charged, tried, convicted and sentenced by the media with no due process and no independent verification of the allegations involved. But even more troubling — and on a very personal level as someone who has given 35 years of public service to Oregon — is that so many of my former allies in common cause have been willing to simply accept this judgment at its face value.”
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales commented on Kitzhaber’s resignation. “I am saddened by the news of Gov. John Kitzhaber’s resignation from office. However, the scandal has rocked Salem at the start of an all-important legislative session. Today, the governor acted in the best interests of Oregonians, and of state government,” Hales said in an email.