The longest-serving member of Congress says he is leaving office as he faces allegations of sexual harassment.
U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) says he’s resigning a seat he’s held for more than half-a-century.
But Conyers, who is hospitalized, tells Detroit radio station WPZR he is exiting Congress with his legacy intact.
“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we’re going through now. This too shall pass,” Conyers says.
He faced calls from numerous members of Congress to resign after documents surfaced that he had settled a sexual harassment allegation.
But the 88-year-old Conyers denies the accusations.
“This goes with the issue of politics, the game of politics, which we’re in. We take what happens, we deal with it, we pass on and move on,” Conyers says.
In a statement read on the U.S. House floor the Detroit Democrat wrote that he was stepping down because he was not being afforded due process.
Conyers also listed health concerns and wrote that he wanted to help preserve his legacy and good name.
Supporters of Conyers, long-known as one of the most liberal members of the House, say his work has made him an icon of the civil rights movement.
But some Detroit voters, like Tina Brown, say in the wake of the harassment allegations it was time for Conyers to resign.
Brown says, “He needed to. You do not have the right to put your hands on a woman. That goes for the rich and famous. That goes for the President or anybody. You don’t have the right.”
The House is re-examining its current method of reporting and reviewing harassment claims, a system critics say is far too secretive.
Conyers says he is endorsing his son, John Conyers III, to replace him in Congress.
It is up to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to schedule special primary and general elections to fill the seat left vacant by Conyers.