State Sen. Kevin Ranker resigns amid sexual harassment investigation

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- State Sen. Kevin Ranker has resigned from the legislature amid a sexual harassment investigation.

Ranker, a Democrat from Orcas Island, informed Senate leadership of his resignation on Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig said in a news release.

The state Senate hired an outside firm in October to investigate allegations that Ranker sexually harassed an employee.

Ann Larson, who served as Ranker's legislative assistant for a year nearly a decade ago, said the investigation is related to sexual harassment and hostile workplace issues. She says she also was subjected to hostile encounters involving Ranker once she left to work as a legislative liaison for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Ranker had previously said that he believed he would be exonerated after the investigation is complete.

“Because this remains an on-going investigation, I will wait to comment further until I have had the opportunity to read the investigator’s completed report on the allegations against Sen. Ranker," Billig said. "The Senate remains committed to creating and fostering a safe, inclusive workplace for everyone."

Democrats in Ranker's legislative district will submit the names of three people who could replace Ranker in the Senate. After the names are submitted, county legislative authorities will choose the person who will finish Ranker's term.

If the county authorities don't agree on an appointment within 60 days, the governor will appoint someone.

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