No excuse other than "family and personal reasons" was given when former Washington State Rep. Jim Jacks abruptly resigned from office last month in the middle of the legislative session. Now, after leaving a rehab center, the Democrat from Vancouver is finally giving some additional details about the reason for his hasty exit.
Turns out it was booze. Lots of booze.
"I had a moment of clarity. Drinking became more important than my job and my family," he tellsThe Vancouver Columbian.
"It's hugely embarrassing for me. Very emotional," he said in the 20-minute phone conversation. Jacks said he felt it was the right thing to do, to talk about his situation. But, he added, virtually everyone he spoke to advised him against it.
Jacks, a Spokane native and second-term lawmaker who had won re-election handily over Republican Bill Cismar in 2010, had served in a leadership role in the House and had been, by most accounts, an effective and respected lawmaker.
Apparently, however, he was usually drunk when he was doing the lawmaking.
Columbian editor Lou Brancaccio reports:
"I had a moment of clarity. Drinking became more important than my job and my family," (Jacks) said.
Jacks said he thought -- like many alcoholics -- he had been controlling it. But, he said, he finally realized his drinking had simply gotten out of control.
I asked him if he had thought about waiting until the end of the legislative session, which would have created a lot less drama. But he said he felt he was running out of time.
"I felt like I was falling off a cliff. I had to do something."
Apparently doing something about it was urgent enough not to wait until the legislative session was over--a fact that either speaks to the seriousness of Jacks' addiction or the unseriousness of how he viewed his old job.
Either way, it would seem that Jacks made the right decision for himself and his family, as he's been sober for about a month and is going to meetings daily in an effort to stay that way.
We wish him the best on his road to recovery and ask that any future applicants to political office in Washington state not be alcoholics.