House Majority Coalition leadership and the head of the Alaska Democratic Party are calling on Kotzebue Rep. Dean Westlake to resign after an Anchorage Daily News published a report detailing unwanted sexual advances, comments and contact the legislator made toward at least seven current and former legislative aides.
The first claim against Westlake was made public last week, and the new report exposes the scope of his behavior in Juneau reached far beyond a single incident.
“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,” said House Speaker Bryce Edgmon. “This is an extremely difficult decision to make, but it is a necessary decision.”
Alaska Democratic Party head Casey Steinau also released a statement calling on Westlake to resign immediately:
“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,” Steinau said. “There is no place where sexual misconduct, harassment, or assault is acceptable. Elected officials, regardless of party must be held accountable.”
The call for Westlake’s resignation was met with support from other members of the House Majority Coalition, including a tweet from Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, who said Westlake should resign immediately.
“I think we all know what needs to happen here. Rep. Westlake needs to resign his position immediately,” she said. “This sort is behavior is unacceptable of anyone—but even more so from a leader. We should expect the highest standard of behavior from our leaders.”
I think we all know what needs to happen here. Rep. Westlake needs to resign his position immediately. This sort is behavior is unacceptable of anyone—but even more so from a leader. We should expect the highest standard of behavior from our leaders. https://t.co/UU1WiunDVx
— Ivy Spohnholz (@IvySpohnholz) December 9, 2017