Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., announced his retirement from office Dec. 5 while speaking on the Mildred Gaddis Show, a Detroit-based radio program.
“I am retiring today, and I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the support, the incredible undiminished support I have received across the years from my supporters, not only in my district but across the country as well,” said Conyers. “I am in the process of putting my retirement plans together and I will have more about that very soon.”
The 88-year-old Conyers faced a sexual misconduct scandal in November after BuzzFeed News reported that he had settled a complaint in 2015 from a female staffer alleging that she was fired for rejecting his advances. Since then several women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment by the congressman.
Top Democrats — such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca.; Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.; and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. — called on Conyers to resign in the wake of the allegations.
Conyers was hospitalized on Nov. 30 due to stress, according to his aides, and made the announcement of his retirement from an undisclosed hospital. According to Conyers’ attorney, Arnold Reid, the congressman felt that it was important to address his constituents in Michigan separately from making the announcement in Washington, D.C.
Conyers also endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to take his house seat, saying that his family will carry on his legacy of civil rights and judicial reform.
“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we’re going through now. This too shall pass. And I want you to know that my legacy will go on through my children,” said Conyers, who was first elected in 1964.
Though Conyers denied allegations of his sexual misconduct, saying that he “can’t explain where they came from,” he supported the “opening of the books” on similar misconduct payments made by members of Congress.
“I think that there should be a complete disclosure in revealing to all of the citizens of the country of what your federal legislators are doing or not doing and any costs that have been incurred as a result of that,” said Conyers.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will hold a special election for someone to fill Conyers’ seat for the rest of his term, the timetable for which will be determined after his office receives an official letter of resignation, according to the Associated Press.