Rep. Graham Hunt, R-Orting, resigned his seat in the House on Tuesday following accusations that he mislead people about his military experience and embellished his service records.
Hunt said people in his district deserve a representative who can “zealously advocate” on their behalf. “Under the current circumstances, I no longer feel that I can meet these expectations,” Graham wrote in a statement.
The Seattle Times reported in January that Hunt was listing three medals on his official biography that a military personnel center shows no record of him receiving. A doctored photo also appeared on Hunt’s Facebook page that falsely identified him in Iraq. The News Tribune later wrote abut two people who say that Hunt lied to them about details of his military service.
Hunt wrote in his resignation that takes “full responsibility” for any errors. “As I have stated before, I have nothing to conceal, nor have I ever deliberately conducted myself in a manner that compromises my integrity or the integrity of this office. However, the recent speculation of impropriety has taken its toll on my family, my colleagues, and the community,” he said.
House Republican Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen said he believes Hunt’s resignation is in the best interest of the district and Legislature. “Washington House Republicans have high ethical standards and hold each other accountable,” he wrote Tuesday. “While this is a disappointing outcome, we don’t want people to forget that Graham served in the U.S. Air Force and advocated for several causes – including veterans’ issues – during his time as state representative.”
Hunt’s formal letter of resignation was hand-delivered to Gov. Jay Inslee on Feb. 2. Hunt wrote that he hopes for the “appointment process to occur swiftly.” The Pierce County Council and Thurston County commissioners will vote on a replacement to serve out Hunt’s term from a pool of three candidates selected by the Republican party.