OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A member of the board that oversees Oklahoma’s 25 state colleges and universities is stepping down after facing criticism over his role representing drugmaker Johnson & Jonson in its legal fight with the state over the opioid crisis.
Attorney Andrew Lester announced his resignation on Tuesday from the nine-member Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, saying he didn’t want the situation to become a distraction for his fellow regents.
Democratic state Rep. Collin Walke of Oklahoma City last week said he was “astounded” to learn Lester was working on behalf of Johnson & Johnson and called for his resignation.
Lester says in a statement that he had sought the opinion of the regents’ legal counsel before agreeing to the work.
He was appointed by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin in 2016.