View Full Version : CT Guv Rowland Resigns

June 23rd, 2004, 11:37 PM
Under Pressure, Rowland Resigns Governor's Post

The New York Times
Published: June 22, 2004

HARTFORD, June 21 ? Gov. John G. Rowland of Connecticut announced Monday that he would resign from office July 1, yielding to a devastating political reality that for months left him with few defenders as he faced an impeachment inquiry and a federal corruption investigation into his personal relationships with people doing business with the state.

Gov. John G. Rowland of Connecticut announcing his decision to resign, with his wife, Patricia, at his side.

Standing with his wife, Patricia, at 6 p.m. on a terrace outside the governor's residence, Mr. Rowland spoke for less than six minutes and evoked both his promising rise as a state lawmaker first elected in 1980 and his tangled descent toward Monday's events, when he became the first Connecticut governor to resign under pressure.

The governor, a third-term Republican once among the stars of his party, mentioned his mistakes in just one sentence, a line not included in the official text of the speech released afterward by his office.

"I acknowledge that my poor judgment has brought us here," he said in a televised address.

Mr. Rowland's speech was quickly criticized by many Democrats who said it was too little, too late. But its ultimate message ? that he would resign ? prompted near universal relief in a Capitol consumed with scandal for months.

Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican who has served relatively quietly since being elected with Mr. Rowland in 1994, will be sworn in as the state's 87th governor on July 1, serving out the remainder of Mr. Rowland's term, which ends in January 2007. Kevin B. Sullivan, the Senate President pro tem who is a Democrat, will succeed her as lieutenant governor.

"Many challenges lie ahead, but working in a bipartisan manner we will return optimism, civility and pride to our great state," Ms. Rell said in a statement released three hours before the governor's announcement. "I will focus my energies on restoring confidence and trust in state government, and I look forward to leading our state with a new sense of steadiness and determination."

When Mr. Sullivan and Ms. Rell are installed, it will be the first time in more than half a century that the chief political parties will share power in the state's two highest offices. Still, the prospect of having to bridge a partisan divide in the governor's office seemed, at least for now, a small hurdle after months of tension. The impeachment inquiry cost taxpayers more than $4 million.

"We're going to make this easy," Mr. Sullivan said Monday when he encountered the House Republican leader, Robert M. Ward, who smiled in return and shook his hand.

Aides to the governor insisted that his resignation was driven by politics: the realization that at a time when polls show two-thirds of the state's residents want him to resign, lawmakers - even Republicans - would be loath to defend him against impeachment in their election year.

Ross H. Garber, the governor's in-house lawyer, also said the resignation was not prompted by the federal investigation, which has been going on for months and, according to people involved in the inquiry, is focusing on a longtime friend of the governor's. Nor is it related, he said, to a State Supreme Court ruling on Friday that effectively ordered the governor to testify before the impeachment committee, Mr. Garber said.

Had he been impeached, Mr. Rowland would have been the first governor ever impeached in Connecticut and the first nationwide since 1988, when Gov. Evan Mecham of Arizona was impeached and removed after a Senate trial.

Another Arizona governor, Fife Symington, was the last to resign under pressure, in 1997, after he was convicted of fraud.

Mr. Rowland still faces the federal investigation, as well as the challenge of finding a source of income for his five children and step-children, no small tasks for a politician about to lose his job, his house, his salary and his transportation. He also faces additional alimony payments to his first wife, to be paid when he leaves elected office.

Marc S. Ryan, the state budget director and one of the governor's closest aides, insisted that Mr. Rowland was employable.

Gov. John G. Rowland of Connecticut and his wife, Patricia, after he announced his decision to resign.
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