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Bipartisan group of Senate leaders call on Washington’s insurance commissioner to resign

A statement from Senate leaders said the allegations included “abusive and inappropriate behavior in the workplace.”

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A bipartisan group of Senate leaders is calling on Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler to resign after he said he fired a whistleblower who made allegations of abuse.

A statement from Senate leaders said the allegations included “abusive and inappropriate behavior in the workplace.”

In a statement to KING 5 on Thursday, a spokesperson for the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OCI) said the whistleblower was an at-will exempt employee.

“The agency has made the decision to exercise its discretion to terminate [the employee’s] exempt appointment as OIC Legislative Liaison. This position is an at-will, exempt appointment that the agency may terminate at any time. The decision to end his engagement was taken following ongoing discussions with [the employee] on his role within the office as the agency progresses. [The employee] has been a valued member of our legislative and policy team and everyone wishes him well in his future endeavours.”

The agency gave no reason for the employee’s dismissal.

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig said in a statement Thursday that he has serious concerns about Kreidler following “troublesome initial reports of his behavior” toward employees.

“Now that he has decided to fire the employee who had the courage to come forward in the first place, it has become clear that the insurance commissioner has learned nothing from these past incidents and I think it is time for him to resign,” Billig said. .

Senate Republican Leader John Braun and other senators also called for Kreider’s resignation on Thursday.

The Associated Press reports that in previous media interviews, Kreider said he did not recall all of the alleged incidents, but acknowledged that he had used inappropriate language “from time to time.”

Kreidler said in response to the complaint that he apologized to the staff and “will be open to their comments as I move forward,” the Associated Press reported.

Kreidler was first elected insurance commissioner in 2000. He was reelected to a sixth term in 2020.

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