Rep. Westlake to hold presser following allegations of sexual misconduct, calls for resignation
Alaska State Rep. Dean Westlake says he will hold a press conference in Anchorage on Monday, after his own party and the House Speaker called for his resignation Friday.
"It's really pretty simple. I would like to call on Representative Westlake to do the right thing and resign and vacate his office for the good of his district and for the good of Alaska," said Jay Parmley, executive director of the Alaska Democratic Party.
In a phone conversation with KTVA Sunday, Westlake said he was still waiting to confirm a time and location for the event before making a formal announcement.
KTVA has reported that a former legislative staff member this year, who did not work for Westlake, told House leaders that the representative made unwelcome physical contact with her in Juneau on two occasions at work-related functions. In one case, she says Westlake grabbed her butt, which she says a nearby staffer saw.
In a text message to KTVA Friday evening, Rep. Westlake would only say he would get back to us when he's ready to go public.
On Thursday, he said in a statement:
"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. I welcome both the review and update to the legislature's sexual harassment policies, as well as new training for members and staff."
When asked what the Democratic Party would do if Westlake doesn't resign, Parmley replied, "We'll continue to pressure him and to ask and call for people to do the right thing."
Wasilla Republican Senator David Wilson has denied sexual harassment allegations against him. When asked if he should resign too, Parmley said, "I think that that absolutely should be one of the avenues that is available to him."
Liz Raines contributed to this story.
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