In developing news, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich) has announced that he will leave Congress immediately, following multiple sexual misconduct allegations from former employees. The 88-year-old endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him.
The New York Times reports that Conyers, the longest-serving current member of the House and the longest-serving African-American in history, called into a local radio show on Tuesday to break the news.
“I am retiring today,” he said from a hospital in Michigan. “I am in the process of putting together my retirement plans. I will have more about that very soon.”
Despite his resignation, he continued to deny that he had harassed any of his former employees and said he did not know where the allegations came from.
“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we are going through now,” Conyers said. “This too shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children.”
His decision comes in the wake of multiple calls for him to step down. Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged Conyers to resign after allegations that he sexually harassed a staffer came forward.
“The allegations against Congressman Conyers, as we have learned more since Sunday are serious, disappointing and very credible,” Pelosi said. “It’s very sad and the brave women who came forward are owed justice. I will pray for Congressman Conyers and his family, and wish them well. However Congressman Conyers should resign.”
The Times also reports that Ian Conyers, a Michigan state senator and the grandson of Conyers’s brother, plans to run for the seat held by his great-uncle.
“I’m absolutely going to file for his seat. The work of our congressional district, where I come out of, has to continue,” the 29-year-old said. “We have got to have someone who has depth and experience but also historical understanding of what it takes to fight this type of evil in Washington.”