Westlake refuses to resign

Dean Westlake (D)

Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) Amid calls to resign from the House Speaker and the Alaska Democratic Party, Representative Dean Westlake stood his ground Tuesday night with a statement stating he will not resign.

Westlake, who recently underwent heart surgery, has been accused by seven women of inappropriate behavior, which include two alleged incidents at public places in Juneau earlier this year.

In his statement, Westlake said he sought the counsel of friends, family, native leaders, elders and God when he made his decision, "I want to once again apologize to any woman whom I have made uncomfortable with either my actions or words.  I never intended to hurt anyone, but I understand now that I have.  I am truly sorry for that, and I want to thank anyone who came forward.  Doing so required strength and bravery."

Westlake also promised to become an advocate for women's causes, "I am committed to being better and to change my behavior.  I will learn from this experience."

One of the women has filed a human resources complaint that is now being investigated.  The legislature also has a panel that is looking at current policy and will soon recommend changes to the policy on sexual and other workplace harassment.  Westlake represents the Kotzebue area in the legislature.  He is serving his first term.
 

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