Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan has resigned, according to Gov. Tina Kotek’s office. It comes one day after Fagan apologized for taking a job moonlighting as a consultant for a marijuana company.
“This morning, Secretary Fagan informed me of her decision to resign,” Kotek said in a statement. “I support this decision. It is essential that Oregonians have trust in their government. I believe this is a first step in restoring that trust. During the upcoming appointment process, my office will do everything possible to support the hard-working staff in the Secretary of State’s office and ensure this will not disrupt the May 16 election.”
The company Fagan consulted for is part of an industry that her office just audited. The Democrat is the state’s second-highest ranking official.
Willamette Week, which was first to report about Fagan’s side job, said it obtained a letter that Fagan sent to office staff.
“Over the last few days I have given myself some very hard feedback, spent time reflecting and I have determined that the best thing I can do to support the people of this agency is to resign,” Fagan wrote, according to Willamette Week. “This is a really difficult decision, but I truly believe it is the best thing for our staff, state government and the people of Oregon.”
She expressed her remorse in a Zoom conference Monday. She says she exercised poor judgment but has indicated she aims to hold onto her elected position.
Republicans have called for her to resign.
Kotek, a Democrat, has requested investigations by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission and the Oregon Department of Justice.
Fagan said she was terminating her contract with an affiliate of marijuana retail chain La Mota.
Kotek’s office said it will begin searching for a replacement. Deputy Secretary Cheryl Myers will serve as acting Secretary of State for the time being.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.