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Embattled Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing resigns

Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing in March 2012. (Jesse Tinsley)
Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing in March 2012. (Jesse Tinsley)

The embattled mayor of Airway Heights has submitted his resignation following a public furor in July regarding comments he made about President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama that were considered racist.

Patrick Rushing did not acknowledge the controversy in a news release issued Monday by the city.

“I find it difficult to continue due to my declining health issues,” Rushing is quoted as saying in the statement.

Deputy Mayor Kevin Richey will take over for Rushing until the City Council selects a replacement.

The council voted 4-0 to accept his resignation, effective Sept. 1. Two council members were absent.

Last month the council issued a vote of no confidence in Rushing’s leadership after his musings on Facebook and subsequent statements put the city in a most unflattering national spotlight.

Rushing compared the president and first lady to monkeys.

He acknowledged saying “stupid stuff” but refused to immediately resign from the job that paid $2,000 a month.

He later called Facebook a “tool of the devil” and deactivated his account.

A letter condemning Rushing was signed by 28 of the city’s 45 employees.

The council urged Rushing’s resignation and directed the city to begin investigating a formal recall petition.

“I think this does help the entire community in terms of closure” of this controversy, said Airway Heights City Manager Albert Tripp.


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