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Senate Democrats: Nevada Senate leader Atkinson to resign

Posted: 11:29 AM, Mar 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-05 19:59:23Z

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Democrats controlling the Nevada state Senate say the chamber's leader Kelvin Atkinson is resigning.

The Nevada Senate Democrats' Executive Director Cheryl Bruce said in a statement Tuesday that the North Las Vegas senator will resign because of charges he faces that "are serious and allege conduct that we strongly condemn."

The statement did not offer further details and Bruce did not respond to an emailed message seeking further details.

Atkinson did not respond to a message left on his cellphone seeking comment.

Bruce says Assistant Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro will become the acting Senate leader.

Atkinson was first elected to the Assembly in 2002 and to the state Senate in 2012.

He was the first black, openly gay member of the Nevada Legislature in 2013 when he came out during a debate in the Senate on same-sex marriage.

Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer and Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler released the following statements regarding Democratic Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleading guilty to federal charges and his pending resignation.

“Senator Atkinson has violated the integrity of our elections and broken the trust of the voters and his colleagues,” said James Settelmeyer. “We hope this is an exception, but we must get all of the facts and determine how far this corruption goes. We must preserve the integrity of this institution.”

“The actions of Senate Leader Atkinson are more than troubling,” said Jim Wheeler. “Criminal behavior has no place in our legislature. I applaud the work of our law enforcement and look forward to hearing the final details of this investigation.”

Director Cheryl Bruce released the following statement on behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus regarding the pending resignation of Senator Kelvin Atkinson:

“The Nevada Senate Democrats are saddened and disappointed to learn of the circumstances leading to Senator Atkinson’s resignation today,”

Bruce said, “The charges levied against him are serious, and allege conduct that we strongly condemn. His resignation is appropriate. We trust the courts to do justice in this matter. Given what little information we currently have, we won’t be commenting on what appear to be ongoing investigations.

Nevadans sent us here to do a job, and they expect us to fulfill those duties. Under our Caucus bylaws, Assistant Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro will assume the position of acting Leader. With less than 100 days of session remaining, our caucus will continue to focus on fighting for hardworking Nevadans.”