First Bisexual to Become Governor in USA as Oregon’s Kitzhaber ResignsPosted: February 14, 2015
Robert Wilde reports: Amid calls for resignation after conflict of interest allegations involving Oregon Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancée and First Lady Cylvia Hayes, on Friday the state’s longest serving chief executive resigned.
The beleaguered governor said that he broke no laws, but would step down effective Wednesday February 18. “Nonetheless, I understand that I have become a liability to the very institutions and policies to which I have dedicated my career and, indeed, my entire adult life,” he said.
On Thursday, Kitzhaber had ordered that thousands of his emails be destroyed. USA Today reported that the “Governor’s office wants anything that is in the email account [Kitzhaber’s account] removed from archive,” wrote Tracy Osburn, a field technician in the DAS Technology Support Center. The email was obtained by Willamette Week and 101.9 KINK/FM News 101 KXL.
A Department of Administrative Services spokesman confirmed the report that the governor’s office had asked that the governor’s personal emails be deleted from the archives. However, according to an AP story, the agency said it could not do that.
Both Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek had asked Kitzhaber to resign. Friday morning Courtney told ABC News that Kitzhaber “was upset… He was defiant. He’s struggling.”
Kitzhaber and Hayes first came under scrutiny in 2011 when the Oregon Department of Justice investigated a clean energy consulting contract awarded to Hayes for $60,000 under the Oregon Department of Energy, even though her firm, 3E Strategies, was the last in the bid for grant money. The investigation questioned whether favoritism played a role in Hayes getting the contract, KGW News reported.
Hayes was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing. However, in January 2015, Hayes admitted that she received $118,000 for two years to work with a clean energy organization. Hayes failed to disclose this on her federal income tax return that she made public as Oregon’s first lady.
Hayes started dating Kitzhaber in 2003, after meeting him during her unsuccessful run for congress in 2002. When he won the gubernatorial race in 2010 for his third term—he was governor for two terms from 1995-2003—he referred to Hayes as his “first lady” and his “life partner.”
- Political pressure squeezes ‘struggling’ Kitzhaber (portlandtribune.com)
- Courtney, Kotek, and Wheeler call for Kitzhaber to resign (blueoregon.com)
- A bisexual governor of Oregon? (washingtonblade.com)
- Democratic Leaders Call On Kitzhaber to Resign (politicalwire.com)
- Looks As Though I Was Wrong (maxredline.typepad.com)
- Dems Courtney, Kotek ask Kitzhaber to resign (koin.com)
- Kitzhaber (curationclub.com)