Seattle: The governor of the US state of Oregon, John Kitzhaber, has announced that he will step down next week in the face of allegations that his fiancee exploited her position as the state`s unofficial first lady to benefit her business.
"It is not in my nature to walk away from a job I have undertaken -- it is to stand and fight for the cause," the 67-year-old Democrat wrote in a statement Friday. "For that reason I apologise 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."
Oregon newspapers began running stories last October on Kitzhaber`s fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, who was running a green-energy consulting firm even as she played an active role in the governor`s administration.
Kitzhaber and his staff have been accused of creating "ad hoc" functions for Hayes in the administration and the Democratic leaders of the state legislature said Thursday that the governor had to go.
"I am confident that I have not broken any laws nor taken any actions that were dishonest or dishonourable in their intent or outcome," Kitzhaber said Friday. "I have always tried to do the right thing, and now the right thing to do is to step aside."
But the governor also criticised the process that left him with no choice but to resign.
"I must also say that it is deeply troubling to me to realise 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," he said.
Kitzhaber`s resignation will take effect next Wednesday.
He will be succeeded by Oregon`s secretary of state, Kate Brown, who will become the first openly bisexual governor in the US.