Rep. Zach Fansler has resigned from the Legislature

Rep. Zach Fansler. (Photo by House Majority Coalition press office)

Rep. Zach Fansler, D-Bethel, has officially resigned from the Alaska Legislature. He submitted his resignation letter to the House and his resignation will be effective Feb. 12, 2018.

Fansler is accused of assaulting a woman, according to an account of the altercation published over the weekend by the Juneau Empire. House Speaker Bryce Edgmon called for his resignation on the same day the story was published, and Fansler has been absent from the Legislature since the publication of the story.

His resignation letter, posted by Juneau Empire reporter James Brooks, doesn’t address the assault accusations, but simply says he’s leaving “to dedicate more time to personal matters.” The Empire also published the response from the woman in its story about Fansler’s resignation:

In a statement sent by text message, the woman — whom the Empire is not naming — said she had mixed feelings.

“I’m glad this bit of uncertainty has been resolved but I was disappointed to read in his resignation letter that Zach is avoiding taking responsibility for his actions. Since his resignation is not effective until the 12th and he is still collecting per diem, I suggest that he donate the next 10 days’ per diem to the Tundra Women’s Coalition,” she wrote, referring to the Bethel women’s group where Fansler used to volunteer.

“Zach caused me a great deal of physical and emotional pain, but he also let down his constituents, and they deserve better,” she wrote. “While the last three weeks have been very difficult, it was a comfort to me to see that Speaker Edgmon and his colleagues took my report seriously and acted quickly.”

Fansler had initially denied the allegations, vowing to fight criminal charges if they were filed (they’ve yet to be filed), but the House leadership members said they believed the charges were credible and believed charges would be filed. House leadership had discussed expelling Fansler through a special resolution, but waited for Fansler to respond to the call to resign.

Legislative staff has already been stripped from Fansler, and House District 38 Democrats have already started exploring potential replacements for the disgraced legislator, according to KYUK.

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