Assefa resigns from Assembly

Legi bldg
The Legislature on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020 during the third day of the 32nd Special Session in Carson City. (David Calvert/Nevada Independent, pool photographer)

Democratic Assemblyman Alexander Assefa on Tuesday resigned from the Nevada State Legislature, acknowledging he didn’t meet residency requirements to hold his Assembly District 42 seat.

“I ran to represent this District out of a sincere belief that not only was it my place of residence, but that I was in a unique position to understand and address the needs of the constituents of the district, particularly the large Ethiopian community, which resides there,” Assefa wrote in his resignation letter to Gov. Steve Sisolak. “… With great regret, and because I believe that lawmakers are bound to uphold the law and act with honesty and integrity, I must admit my mistake and resign from office.”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in October there was an investigation into Assefa alleging he misused campaign funds and questioning whether he resided in his district.

Assefa, who was first elected in 2018, became the first Ethiopian-American elected to public office. He recently won re-election in 2020. 

In his resignation letter, Assefa pledged to donate his remaining campaign funds to nonprofit organizations. The letter did not address the allegations of misuse of campaign funds.

He is the second state lawmaker to step down from office in two days.

On Monday, state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, the first Latina elected to the chamber, announced she was resigning to join the incoming Biden Administration to work for the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Her seat, District 10, and Assefa’s seat will be both filled by the Clark County Commission.

The 2021 Legislature is set to convene on Feb. 1.

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.