- Associated Press - Friday, March 18, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has given his first extensive interview since resigning 13 months ago, telling Oregon Public Broadcasting that he’s confident he’ll be cleared of any wrongdoing and is looking for work.

Kitzhaber, 69, surrendered to political pressure and quit over allegations his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, used their relationship to win contracts for her consulting business. Federal agents launched an investigation, but no charges have been filed.

“It’s been a tough year; it’s been a painful year,” he told OPB (https://is.gd/IMZm1X ). “I’ve obviously struggled with a feeling that I let down people who elected me and (that) certainly was not my intention

“But I think the biggest lesson for me over the last year is that I’m just not going to let adversity dampen my commitment to these ideas that have motivated me for so long.”

To that end, he’s stepping back into the public eye. Though he won’t run for office again, Kitzhaber said he’s starting a Facebook page that will give him an opportunity to discuss public issues and he’s looking for work, likely as a consultant.

“I’ve just got to the point where I don’t want my career or want my reputation to be defined by this narrative that grew out of the last months of my administration,” Kitzhaber said during the interview at a Portland coffee shop.

Kitzhaber wouldn’t discuss specifics of the investigation against him or the one against Hayes, except to say he believes they will be cleared.

The former governor said he and Hayes are still engaged, but haven’t set a wedding date: “We’re obviously hoping to get past, obviously, the investigation.”

He only spoke briefly about his successor, former Secretary of State Kate Brown. Her comments about Kitzhaber’s state of mind in his last days of office were widely seen as adding pressure on him to resign.

“I think she’s obviously had a steep learning curve,” he said, “and I’m certainly not going to comment on her job performance.”


Information from: KOPB-, https://www.opb.org

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