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After Utah Senate president removes him from assignments, Sen. Gene Davis says he will resign

SHARE After Utah Senate president removes him from assignments, Sen. Gene Davis says he will resign
State Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, speaks at a ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Utah Capitol in 2016.

State Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, speaks at a ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Utah Capitol on Jan. 4, 2016. Utah Senate President Stuart Adams removed Davis from his committee assignments on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, after investigating allegations of impropriety made by his former intern.

Chris Samuels, Deseret News

Longtime Democratic Sen. Gene Davis announced his impending retirement on Wednesday, after the Utah Senate president asked for his resignation and stripped him of his committee assignments.

Davis, of Salt Lake City, will retire effective Nov. 19, according to a written statement by his legal team.

“It has been an honor to serve the great people of the state of Utah,” Davis said in a written statement. “May God bless you all and God bless Utah.”

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams said earlier Wednesday he removed Davis from his committee assignments after investigating allegations of impropriety made by a former intern.

“I have removed Sen. Davis from all president-appointed committee assignments and urged him to resign from the Senate,” Adams said in a news release.

“We strive to create and maintain to have a respectful and professional work environment and are committed to addressing any allegations. I want to reiterate that the Senate does not and will not tolerate workplace harassment, which is why I directed an independent investigation to evaluate the allegations,” Adams said.

Davis has continually denied the accusations, and did so again on Wednesday.

“Though Sen. Davis continues to deny any wrongdoing, recent events have made it impractical for him to continue his work in the Senate,” his attorney said. “So, in the best interest of his constituency and the people of Utah, Sen. Davis has determined to step aside and resign from the Utah State Senate. Today’s announcement is not the end of Sen. Davis’ commitment and dedication to the people of Utah. Sen. Davis intends to continue to fight for the people of Utah in any way he is able. But he will do so as a private citizen.”

The Senate and the Democratic Party began separate investigations after a woman detailed alleged interactions with Davis in an Instagram post this summer. She accused Davis of inappropriate touching during her internship, and when she was later hired to help with his bid for reelection.

The statement from Adams’ office noted that although the former intern did not file an official complaint, Adams commissioned an independent investigation performed by two attorneys “with experience in workplace harassment and discrimination investigations.”

Based on interviews with multiple witnesses, and after “assessing their credibility,” the investigators found it was “more likely than not” that Davis, of Salt Lake City, had violated Senate policies in his interactions with the former intern, according to the statement.

The Salt Lake County Democratic Party also called for Davis’ resignation last month after completing its own investigation.

Davis’ attorney said in September the senator would continue to serve for the remainder of his term at the end of this year. He was eliminated from the race in his bid for reelection when his Democratic opponent Nate Blouin beat him in the primary.

Davis has served in the Senate since 1999, and prior to that served in the House since 1987.

He has also refuted the claims made by the Democratic party, including that the investigation into his conduct was conducted fairly.

Senate Minority Leader Karen Mayne, D-Salt Lake City, said Wednesday the caucus has accepted Davis’ resignation.

“He will no longer serve in his caucus leadership role and has been removed from his caucus-appointed committees, which include the Executive Appropriations Committee and the Legislative Management Committee,” Mayne said in the news release from Adams’ office.

Contributing: Bridger Beal-Cvetko