The editorial board of the largest newspaper in Oregon called for the state’s governor to resign in an editorial published Wednesday, following a slew of allegations of potential ethics violations.
The Oregonian editorial board asserted that Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber’s “credibility has evaporated” after an investigation by the paper revealed that Kitzhaber’s fiancée Cylvia Hayes, the state’s first lady, advised the governor on energy policy while continuing to work as a paid consultant on the same issues.
Kitzhaber announced Friday in a press conference that Hayes will no longer play a policy or political role in his administration.
But the Oregonian’s editorial board was not satisfied by that change or Kitzhaber’s answers during the 20-minute press conference when placed side-by-side with a slew of allegations revealed through an investigation by two of the newspaper’s reporters.
“More ugliness may surface, but it should be clear by now to Kitzhaber that his credibility has evaporated to such a degree that he can no longer serve effectively as governor,” the editorial board wrote Wednesday. “He is now less a governor than a source of unending distraction. He can no longer lead Oregon effectively and should resign.”
The paper accused Kitzhaber of evading questions during the press conference to an “almost Clintonian” level and said even the governor’s best intentions are “no match for an ugly reality of his own making.”
“To recite every reported instance in which Hayes, ostensibly under Kitzhaber’s watchful eye, has used public resources, including public employee time and her ‘first lady’ title, in pursuit of professional gain would require far more space than we have here,” the editorial board asserted. “Suffice it to say there’s a pattern, and the person who bears the responsibility for allowing it to form and persist is Kitzhaber, who should know better.”
Kitzhaber, however, said he has no plans to resign.
“I was elected to serve the citizens of the state of Oregon and I intend to continue to do so,” he said in a statement to CNN.