Connecticut Governor Resigns
State Democratic Chairman George Jepsen criticized Rowland for not apologizing to voters.
"Not only did he not apologize for his actions, he didn't apologize for the damage his actions have caused the state," Jepsen told reporters after the speech. "His speech was a porthole into his character."
On the streets of Hartford, the governor's resignation surprised no one. This governor's demise was a political death foretold in weeks of media revelations and committee hearings. The latest polls showed that about 70 percent of state residents favored his resignation and 57 percent were in favor of his impeachment.
"I'm shocked he wasted our time and money holding on this long," said Chris Lane, 43, a computer programmer. "He and his cronies thought we were really, really stupid."
Kevin Lajoie, a salesman, had much the same take. "Surprise? C'mon," he said. "The more you learned, the worse and deeper the muck got."
Still, seen from the perspective of several years ago, Rowland's fall was breathtaking in its speed. He had utterly dominated state politics, building a football stadium and leading the rehabilitation of downtown Hartford. He did not hesitate to bend labor leaders to his will. He brought much the same determination to his battle to stave off impeachment, speaking of his faith in God and rallying sympathetic groups to his banner.
He suggested that an impeachment trial could embarrass fellow politicians by exposing their own ethical lapses. And he refused a House demand for his testimony, appealing its subpoena to the state Supreme Court. But last week the court ruled against him and so began the endgame.
"The political problem for the governor is that he had to think about himself as a federal defendant rather than a sitting governor," said Arthur Paulson, a political science professor at Southern Connecticut State University. "If he pleaded the Fifth Amendment with the House committee, he would definitely be impeached. But if he testified, he could have perjured himself.
"His decision to resign didn't have a tinker's damn to do with the good of the state."
Special correspondent Michelle Garcia in New York contributed to this report.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland, with his wife, Patty, beside him, announces his resignation from office at the governor's mansion in Hartford.
(Bob Child -- AP)
Biographical Information on John G. Rowland|
at 10:43 AM
NAME: John G. Rowland.
AGE-BIRTH DATE: 47. May 24, 1957.
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in business administration, Villanova University.
EXPERIENCE: Worked as insurance agent in family firm until 1984. Served in the state House 1981-1984. Served in U.S. House from 1985-1990. He lost the 1990 race for governor but won the 1994 race and was re-elected in 1998 and 2002.
FAMILY: Wife, Patricia. He has three children from his first marriage and shares custody of his second wife's two children.
QUOTE: "People say, 'Oh, he's done things wrong. He's taken gifts.' OK, let's assume half of the stuff is true. I think the more important point is, the reason I don't resign is I haven't compromised this office. No one has even said I've compromised this office. I've not done anything inappropriate for anybody."