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Oklahoma House speaker resigns amid gaffes

January 29, 2008|From the Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — The state House speaker resigned his post on Monday after a series of embarrassing revelations, including not filing state personal income-tax returns and being involved in questionable fundraising.

Republican Lance Cargill, at 36 the nation's youngest House speaker, told members of the House's GOP majority of his resignation by telephone during a conference call. He later issued a statement.

"For several weeks, our policies heading into the session have been buried in the newspapers, while personal stories have remained on the front pages," Cargill said. "I take full responsibility for that."

Cargill said he hoped that a new speaker could shift the focus back "to the future of this great state."

He quit the job one week before the Legislature was scheduled to convene on Feb. 4.

The speaker pro tem, Rep. Gus Blackwell, will act as speaker until a vote is held to select a new one, according to House rules. Republicans outnumber Democrats 57-44.

Cargill was in his second year as speaker. He will stay on as a representative.

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