Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) announced that he is retiring amid sexual harassment claims on Tuesday.
CBS News reports the longtime member of Congress endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to run for his seat during the announcement. A lawyer representing Conyers said his retirement is effective immediately.
“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we’re going through now. This too shall pass,” said Conyers during an appearance on a Michigan radio station early Tuesday. “I want you to know that my legacy will continue through my children. I have a great family here and especially in my oldest boy, John Conyers III who incidentally I endorsed to replace me in my seat in Congress.”
Rep. Sheila Jackson (D-Texas) took to the House floor to read a statement from Conyers shortly after the announcement. She said she did so at Conyers’ request, who also reportedly notified House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan of his plans to leave his position.
“Given the totality of the circumstance of not being afforded the right of due process in conjunction with current health conditions, and to preserve my legacy and good name, I am retiring. I hope my retirement will be viewed in the larger perspective of my record of service as I enter a new chapter,” the statement from Conyers read.
According to Steve Chaggaris of CBS News, Conyers’ resignation from the House of Representatives will kick off a special election to replace him, per Michigan law. Once the governor’s office receives Conyers’ letter of resignation, the special election will take place and enforced by the governor.
Until his resignation, the 88-year-old Democrat had been the longest-serving current member of Congress.
“His doctor advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him just in terms of his health,” Ian Conyers, a Michigan state senator and the congressman’s great-nephew, told the Times.
The congressman has recently been accused of verbally abusing, inappropriately touching and groping several women over decades.