Friday, February 13, 2015

Kitzhaber's Interesting Resignation Letter

Here's the text of Oregon Governor Kitzhaber's resignation statement, as reported by Williamette Week and the Oregonian. He admits no wrongdoing. Note the third and fourth paragraphs in particular.

Update 12:52 pm: Here's the audio of the governor reading his resignation statement, which was sent to reporters by email. Kitzhaber chocks up just a little near the end.
I am announcing today that I will resign as Governor of the State of Oregon.

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.

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.

It is something that is hard for me to comprehend – something we might expect in Washington, D.C. but surely not in Oregon. I do not know what it means for our shared future but I do know that it is seriously undermining civic engagement in this state and the quality of the public discourse that once made Oregon stand out from the pack.

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. As a former presiding officer I fully understand the reasons for which I have been asked to resign. I wish Speaker Kotek and President Courtney and their colleagues on both sides of the aisle success in this legislative session and beyond. And I hope that they are truly committed to carrying forward the spirit of bipartisanship and collaboration that has marked the last four years in Oregon.

In 1968 I was inspired to commit my life to public service by the last campaign of Robert Kennedy. Forty-one years ago I started work as an emergency room doctor in Roseburg with a goal to make life better for those in my care. Ever since then, I have sought to keep that focus by trying to make things better for the people and the communities of this state that I love. I have had the extraordinary privilege of pursuing that work as a State Representative, State Senator, Senate President and as your Governor.

Over those years, I have had the honor to be a part of some remarkable achievements.

We responded to the worst recession and financial crisis since the Great Depression by rebuilding an Oregon economy that has added jobs and vitality in many regions of our state.  And, unlike many other parts of our nation, we did it together with cooperation and respect for Oregon and for each other.

We successfully defended Oregon’s spectacular natural heritage of clean water, clean air, forests, farmland and special places.  We created the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds and nearly 90 watershed councils.

We have also found ways to support our rural communities and to create jobs in our natural resources industries while enhancing the environment.

When forces of intolerance sought to divide us we stood up for the principal that every Oregonian deserves respect and basic rights – including the right to choose and the right to marry the person we love.

And I am proud that Oregon has not invoked the death penalty during my last four years on the watch.

We have stood by our working men and women steadfastly supporting collective bargaining and the right to form a union.

We have transformed our health care system, improving access and quality while lowering costs through our new Coordinated Care Organizations.  Tonight over 95 percent of Oregonians will go to bed knowing that they have health insurance coverage.  We did that together.

In a three-day special session we reformed our public pension system, provided tax relief to small businesses and raised new revenue for mental health and for public education  -- the foundation of our future.

We have passionately pursued the goal of equity and opportunity – especially for those Oregonians who have been left behind: communities of color, English language learners and those in poverty, those in the rural parts of our state, the very young and the very old.

 We have laid the groundwork for eliminating the achievement gap and ensuring that over 90 percent of our children could be reading at level in 3rd grade within five years.

And we are poised to reach agreements that will resolve the century-old water crisis in the Klamath Basin and expand irrigated agriculture in the Umatilla.

As important as what we have accomplished – how we have accomplished it is perhaps even more important. We have had a great tradition of overcoming partisan differences in this state and doing what is right for Oregon. That tradition had faltered, but over the past four years we have rebuilt a functional political center, reaching across party lines to do difficult, important things by reducing polarization and building community to help right the ship and chart a better course for our future.

I ran for a fourth term as your governor to continue that progress. But the questions that have been raised about my administration – specifically allegations against me concerning the work done by my fiancĂ© Cylvia Hayes and the contracts she obtained during my last term – and the escalating media frenzy that has stemmed from this – has clearly reached the point of no return.

I am confident that I have not broken any laws nor taken any actions that were dishonest or dishonorable in their intent or outcome. That is why I asked both the Ethics Commission and the Attorney General to take a full and comprehensive look at my actions – and I will continue to fully cooperate with those ongoing efforts.  I am equally confident that once they have been concluded Oregonians will see that I have never put anything before my love for and commitment to Oregon and faithfully fulfilling the responsibilities of the public offices I have held.

But it is also clear that this process will take months.

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.

One thing I hope people know about me is that I love this state and its people, its rivers, its mountains and its landscapes with every fiber of my being. It is because of that love that I tender my resignation as Governor, effective at 10 a.m. on February 18, 2015. Secretary of State Kate Brown will take the oath of office as Oregon’s Governor at that time. Oregon will be in good hands and I wish her well.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you and our state. It has been the honor of my life. And I believe I can say that looking back over those years we have left it better than we found it.


John said...

So does Ms Brown serve out Gov. K's entire term or will there be a special election?

John Puma

David Appell said...

A special election, though it won't happen until Nov. 2016 as part of the general elections.

John said...


Re paragraphs 3&4: if sincere, they reveal a surprising level of naivete, enough to explain the ultimate cause of the problem.

David Appell said...

John, probably you're right. I don't blame anyone but Kitzhaber himself, but I get the impression he was very surprised about the speed of modern media environment, social and journalistic.

OnymousGuy said...

John, I disagree. This was trial by Saint Nigel. I predict that the investigation will show Kitzhaber was clean. He was swift-boated by the carbon lobby. The email business is another matter. I don't know where that will lead. Cylvia Hayes will have her own legal problems, and it will take several years before that is settled.

John said...

Here's an article by Michael Donnelly on the matter:


What I said hardly precludes a "trial by Saint Nigel" but, rather, suggests it.

The fact is that ANY APPEARANCE of "wrong doing" is immediately and viciously attacked in Oregon no differently than it is in DC. This applies especially for a Democrat and especially for one who alleges (but see linked article) to be an environmental champion.

If Gov. K III, truly believed his ¶ 3&4 proclamations, then he was innocently done-in by his hustling fiance and it does not matter IF he is clean.

If he does not actually believe the proclamations, then he is an arrogant fool who thought he/she could get away with something.

I suggest the above-linked article for an assessment of K's, and other OR Dem bi-wigs', strange view on dealing with our climate change issue.

This is the essence of the article for me: "Since the Democrats cannot call for the NECESSARY reduced energy consumption in our grow-or-die economy (they’ve proven that time and again in their regular endorsements of oil wars), they have fully embraced forest liquidation." (my emphasis.)

Forgive me, I don't know if "the carbon lobby" means "the increased use of carbon" lobby or "the reduced use of carbon" lobby. From Donnelly's article, it could go either way.

John Puma

OnymousGuy said...

There's some inadequate reporting in Donnely's story, which seems to borrow heavily from St. Nigel..
* "She took over $118,000 from a sham non-profit that went defunct without ever filing a report with the IRS. She herself never reported her payments. " No one, including the Oregonian and Saint Nigel, has seen the IRS filings for Hayes's company, or for Hayes herself.
* "The entire purpose was to shake loose tens of millions of state subsidies for “Green” Energy projects." This is a fantasy; there simply isn't that kind of money for green projects in the state budget, unless you add in transportation and agricultural support that is already heavily committed. Two weeks ago, I heard Jessica Vega Pederson, on both the Revenue committee and the House Committee On Energy and Environment; she emphasized that proposed budgets are expected to be very tight and that new revenues will be small increases if any. Where are these tens of millions of $s you speak of?

* The Apollo Alliance is hardly unknown or mysterious. Seriously - Harry Reid, Carl Pope?

As for the remainder of Donnelly's reporting, it moves between hyperbole and distortion with breathtaking ease.

John said...

To OnymousGuy:

I'm not going to argue every point of the Gov's story.

He resigned. That had nothing to do with me or Donnelly. Picking nits we me and Donnelly will not bring him back, nor would his being cleared by the investigation you alleged. Divert your frustration towards Gov K III, himself.

As I said, the following is the important part of Donnelly's article:
""Since the Democrats cannot call for the NECESSARY reduced energy consumption in our grow-or-die economy (they’ve proven that time and again in their regular endorsements of oil wars), they have fully embraced forest liquidation." (my emphasis.)

Note this applies to all Dems not just those in OR.

John Puma

OnymousGuy said...


I wasn't picking nits. I could have continued my criticisms at length. But I find it boring. Donnelly tries to paint Kitzhaber as a tool of the lumber industry. This is ridiculous.

It is true that Oregon Democrats are pretty united on timber policy, but Kitzhaber's position is indistinguishable from DeFazio's, but the congressman is not a tool of anybody. Nor was the governor. Nor is the governor-to-be Kate Brown a tool of Comcast.

You're living in a fantasy world if you think that a politician with 30+ years of Oregon political experience has "a surprising level of naivete". He was sandbagged, pure and simple. Donnelly seems to require almost a theologically perfect level of environmental purity.

I've had enough back-and-forth. Right now, I'd rather be trying to get the legislature to drop the sunset on clean fuels, dump coal in Oregon, get rid of dirty diesel, and start to plan for a carbon tax, all of which were supported by Kitzhaber. I'll leave it to the zealots to apply their purity tests.

John said...

To OnymousGuy:

Well, good on ya' but your efforts, even if successful, will be drowned out by retention of the prevailing economic theory: "consume more tomorrow than today."

Re: Gov K III:

Let me be clear, I DO NOT claim to know what happened.

I did not call K naive, I considered the possibility. Note that little word "if" in my comments on his words of ¶ 3&4 of his resignation statement, more than once.

I agree that a 30+ year politician is likely NOT naive. That leaves two possibilities: he's guilty or he was sandbagged.

But here is the problem, IF, as you unequivocally assert, he was sandbagged, then the radical reich has scored an extremely massive victory.

Because IF a 30+ year Dem politician can be so easily sandbagged, who's next ... and why should there be an end to the list?

Frankly, I'd prefer he were simply corrupt and blinded by arrogance.

John Puma

OnymousGuy said...

John, I agree totally with your statement, "But here is the problem, IF, as you unequivocally assert, he was sandbagged, then the radical reich has scored an extremely massive victory."

That is the source of my anxiety. And who do you think is bragging about ousting Kitz?