by NW Spotlight
A few weeks ago we reported on former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber resurfacing. Kitzhaber had launched a Facebook page and video – and did an interview with Jeff Mapes, now with OPB. Mapes reported “In the months before his resignation, the Oregon Government Ethics Commission had launched an investigation into the pair, as did the state attorney general’s office. But both probes have been on hold while the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice investigate Kitzhaber and Hayes.”
Now yesterday, Kitzhaber posted a second video on Facebook – this one on “Why I resigned.”
Here’s the full text that accompanies the video from Kitzhaber’s Facebook page:
John Kitzhaber Statement – WHY I RESIGNED
You know it’s been two weeks now since I put up this Facebook page, and the response has been tremendous. And I just can’t thank you enough for the tremendous outpouring of support. It’s just meant so much to me. Today I wanted to take a little time and try to answer a question that I know a lot of you have been asking: And that’s simply, why did I resign if I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong? Ya know, that’s a pretty fair question, and I want to take this opportunity to explain it to you, to try to give you a perspective of what was going on a year ago in my life.
I want to start though by saying very emphatically that my decision to step down was in no way an admission of guilt. Period. I remain very confident that the investigation is going to clear me of any wrong doing. But there were two factors that led to my decision.
First, these allegations that were made against me—initially in a newspaper article, as you know, and then later by my opponent in the last few days of a very heated election campaign—were seized on by the broader media here in Oregon and represented as facts, with no independent verification whatsoever. And that created what I can only describe as a feeding frenzy really, particularly on social media—and that continued to build and intensify after the election was all over, after I had gotten sworn in for my 4th term and then right into the session, into the 2015 legislative session. At that point some people began to take these unsubstantiated allegations and use them as an excuse to oppose legislation that was very important to me, and I think important to Oregon.
Now you know I have been around this process for a long, long time. And I have the deepest respect for the legislative process and for the office of the governor and I believed that this ongoing controversy was actually beginning to undermine both of those important institutions. In a much more personal level, this ongoing media storm was just taking a terrible toll on my family.
So while I was confident that the investigation would clear me of these allegations, I also knew that that process could go on for months. And here we are, over a year later, and it’s still dragging on. You know I have always tried to do the right thing—even when it hasn’t been easy—and a year ago in February, for the reasons that I’ve just explained to you, I felt that the right thing to do was to step aside.
Now, you know we all know that hindsight’s 20-20 and I have had some second thoughts about that decision. But the fact is at the time, I believed it was the right thing to do for Oregon, for the institutions to which I have committed my career, and for my family.
So I hope that that will begin to put all of this into perspective.
And I want to thank you again for your friendship and for your ongoing support.