Embattled governor to resign 

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) will resign from office effective Wednesday, succumbing to demands from state Democrats amid multiple investigations into whether his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, used her role as an energy policy adviser for personal gain.

Kitzhaber’s resignation will automatically elevate Secretary of State Kate Brown (D) into the governor’s mansion. The state does not have a lieutenant governor.

The Democrat announced his decision this afternoon in a letter to Brown, in which he also asserted his innocence and touted his achievements during his three terms in office and the fourth term that he won in November.

“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,” Kitzhaber wrote in the letter, reprinted by several Oregon media outlets.

Kitzhaber also criticized the “escalating media frenzy” surrounding questions about Hayes’ actions, echoing statements he has made in recent weeks.

“I am confident that I have not broken any laws nor taken any actions that were dishonest or dishonorable in their intent or outcome,” Kitzhaber said.

Earlier this week, Kitzhaber recalled Brown to the state from a meeting in Washington, D.C., amid speculation he would resign. But the governor did not do so, prompting top Democrats in the state to publicly call for his departure yesterday.

According to Portland-based television station KOIN, Kitzhaber had decided to resign as early as last weekend, shortly after he asked the state attorney general’s office to launch an investigation into allegations that Hayes promoted issues she worked as a paid consultant on — including a measure advancing low-carbon fuel standards — at the same time she served as an unpaid energy adviser to his office (Greenwire, Feb. 10).

Kitzhaber and Hayes, who have been in a relationship for a decade but became engaged last year, also face an investigation from the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.