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State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown Resigns “Under Protest” After Bribery Conviction

Yesterday, state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown (D-Philadelphia) resigned from office after sharing a letter penned to Speaker Mike Turzai, while she appeals her conviction on bribery and other charges.

She cites language used by the Dauphin County judge who sentenced her last month to 23 months of probation of the “overtones of racism” in the case that led to her conviction, but acknowledged that Pennsylvania Constitution requires her to vacate the seat.

“Although my legal challenge to the conviction continues, I recognize that Article II, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution currently renders me ineligible to serve as a Member of the General Assembly,” Brown writes in the resignation letter to Turzai. “…For the foregoing reasons, I do hereby immediately resign under protest as a duly elected Member and Member-elect of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.”  

Brown was sentenced on Nov. 30, but did not resign until yesterday as she maintains the prosecution “stripped me of my privilege to serve in the General Assembly and caused me incalculable harm and reputation damage.”

“The Court’s findings that the investigation and the prosecution carried overtones of racism and political animus is only the first step in the ultimate vindication of my God-given and constitutional right to be treated fairly and equally under the law,” Brown writes in the letter.  

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that it is usually “common” for state lawmakers convicted of “certain felonies” to resign the day they are sentenced.

Brown was comfortably re-elected to another term last month after she ran unopposed in the 190th state House District.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, House officials said Turzai would select a date “early next year” for a special election for the vacated seat. The earliest the special election would be is March.

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