Alaska Representative Dean Westlake, who just a few short days ago stated he would not be resigning, has officially announced plans to resign from office.
Westlake released a statement, saying:
“As recent allegations of my behavior have superseded discussions about my constituents, my ability to serve them has been diminished. The conversation about my behavior has been elevated above the needs of my district, and that is not why I ran for office. I am not more important than the people who put me in my seat. My district has, and always should, come first.”
The state Democratic party and House leadership called for Westlakes resignation after seven women working at the state capitol reported unwanted advances from him, including unwelcome hugs and sexual remarks.
The women, who are all current or former aides at the Alaska Capitol, reported the unwanted sexual advances. They detailed their behavior in an interview with Anchorage Daily News.
One woman, Olivia Garrett, a former legislative staffer, stated, “Mostly Anchorage-based party leadership started campaigning for someone running in a rural House district and they were told by folks who grew up in that area, ‘This guy is bad news. You can’t campaign for him,’” Garrett said at the time. “And now Dean Westlake is in public office and he has harassed maybe eight people … I am one of them.”
Another woman accused Westlake of sending her a series of unwanted texts in 2014:
An Utqiagvik (Barrow) woman says Rep. Dean Westlake sent her a series of unwanted texts in 2014 despite her requests for him to stop. pic.twitter.com/XNIjrdxDg2
— Kyle Hopkins (@kylehopkinsAK) December 15, 2017
Westlake initially apologized, stating: “I firmly believe that everyone deserves a safe, healthy and professional working environment. I sincerely apologize if an encounter with me has made anyone uncomfortable. That has certainly never been my intent,” but refused to step down.