Rep. Dean Westlake
I would have preferred to publicly respond to recent allegations, but I am still in recovery from heart surgery and must make a written statement only. These allegations have become a confidential personnel matter, and in respecting the process I cannot discuss the details. I very much wish that I could. However, I will say the following:
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.
In the midst of a national moment that has empowered many women to come forward with their painful experiences, I have found myself re-examining my own actions and thinking through how they have affected the women with whom I work and interact.
I, like many men, have learned a lot from the women who have shared their stories over the past few weeks. I used to think of certain actions as friendly or funny, but I have come to understand that they can be offensive and intrusive.
I am imperfect, and I know I have disappointed many people who trusted me to represent them. Let me be clear, I am committed to being better and to changing my behavior. I will learn from this experience, and I will be an ally and supporter of women moving forward.
Many people in the past few days have called for me to resign. I have thought seriously about it, and I have asked for counsel from friends, family, native leaders, Elders, and God. I have decided not to.
I am proud to represent House District 40, which is not a Republican or Democrat district- it is an Alaskan district. I will continue to work on behalf of the people of my district and of Alaska more broadly.
I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this time. These stories do not reflect who I am, and I am determined to make it right.