SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — State Rep. Diego Hernandez has resigned from his post at the Oregon House of Representatives just days before facing a vote that would potentially expel him from office.
Hernandez is accused by colleagues of creating a hostile work environment.
“Today I tendered my resignation so my colleagues may focus on serving Oregonians and so I can move forward with my life and focus on my health and family,” Hernandez said in a statement to Oregon Public Broadcasting.
The House could have voted as soon as Tuesday on whether to expel Hernandez, the Portland Tribune reported. Hernandez attempted to stop the House of Representatives from voting by seeking a temporary restraining order but United States District Court Judge Ann Aiken declined to intervene.
A January independent investigation reported that the Democrat from East Portland became controlling and abusive with three different women. The three women testified that he harassed them and made them fear for their jobs.
The three women in the investigation all worked at the state Capitol or had jobs that required them to work with lawmakers.
Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek said she believes the women and has from the beginning.
“The investigation report documents the experiences of women who have felt unsafe and feared retaliation from Representative Hernandez. This is serious and disturbing. I believed the women when they came forward last year and I believe them now,” Kotek said. “I’m focused on doing everything I can to ensure the Capitol is a safe working environment and that people can do their work without the threat of harassment or retaliation.”
The Oregon Education Association called for Hernandez to step down. In a statement, they said: “These abuses of power have made us lose our confidence in Rep. Hernandez and we believe that he can no longer effectively represent the members of his district.”