Political leaders call for Rep. Dean Westlake's resignation
Friday, the Speaker of the Alaska House called for a representative's resignation.
Speaker Bryce Edgmon released a statement Friday afternoon ago calling for Rep. Dean Westlake (D-Kiana) to resign. Edgmon cited new accusations of sexual harassment against Westlake and said the House leadership believes he should leave office.
“We take very seriously our obligation to ensure everyone who works in the Capitol feels safe and respected. Members of the Alaska House Majority Coalition Leadership understand that it is difficult for victims to speak out, especially against elected officials in a position of power and commend anyone who has been mistreated for coming forward; they are owed justice and respect. In light of recent reports of inappropriate behavior related to his position in the Legislature, House Leadership believes Representative Dean Westlake should resign from the office his constituents sent him to Juneau to represent. This is an extremely difficult decision to make, but it is a necessary decision”
A short time after Speaker Edgmon's statement, the Alaska Democratic Party issued a news release stating the ADP Chair, Casey Steinau, too, was calling for Westlake's resignation. Her statement, in full:
“Representative Westlake must resign immediately. The allegations against Representative Westlake as detailed in today’s Anchorage Daily News are serious and this behavior cannot be tolerated. There is no place where sexual misconduct, harassment, or assault is acceptable. Elected officials, regardless of party must be held accountable.”
KTVA's Liz Raines reported last Sunday that a former legislative staffer, who did not work for Westlake, said the Representative groped her and made an unwelcome sexual advance toward her earlier this year.
Sen. David Wilson (R-Wasilla) has denied sexual harassment allegations against him. When asked if he should resign too Jay Parmley, the ADP's executive director, said, "I think that that absolutely should be one of the avenues that is available to him."
Joe Vigil contributed information to this story.
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