State Senator David Burkette (D-Montgomery) has resigned his position amid an ongoing investigation into potential violations of state ethics laws and continued health concerns.
Burkette, who was recovering from a stroke for most of the 2020 legislative session, did not elaborate on his reasons for leaving office in his official resignation letter, though he acknowledged the existence of an ongoing criminal probe during an interview with ALDailyNews.
“I’m just weary and it is time for me to step away and think about my health,” Burkette told the outlet.
Governor Kay Ivey’s press secretary told Yellowhammer News, “Governor Ivey is disappointed, but firmly supports the rule of law, and particularly in this situation when there has been a clear misuse of public trust.”
The former Montgomery city councilman took office in 2018 after winning a special election to fill the seat of former State Senator Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery), who Governor Kay Ivey appointed as president of Alabama State University.
Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) told ALDailyNews that he is of the understanding that the criminal probe into Burkette’s actions stem from actions taken before Burkette was elected to the State Senate.
Reporting from the Montgomery Advertiser, which references 2017 charitable donations that could not stand up to an audit, appears to back Marsh’s understanding.
More details on the case, including whether the resignation was part of a deal made with prosecutors, appear likely to become public as soon as Wednesday.
“Senator Burkette is a man who has worn himself out trying to help this community. God bless him,” wrote former State Senator Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery) on Twitter upon hearing the news. Burkette is a former educator and served on the Montgomery City council from 2007-2018.
State law dictates that the governor will announce dates for a special election to fill Burkette’s seat, Alabama Senate District 26, within the next few days.