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Wilkerson must resign

During her 15 years in elective office, Dianne Wilkerson has had an overwhelming number of issues that point to her malfeasance. There's a long litany of events - from federal tax evasion to misappropriating campaign funds - and each time, the senator from the 2nd Suffolk District has shown an implausible ability to bounce back and survive politically. Despite each new transgression, voters in her district have overlooked her foibles, forgiven her failings, and voted to keep her in office.

The stunning FBI photos made public on Tuesday showing her apparently accepting cash bribes from undercover agents, coupled with the U.S. Attorney's indictment of her on multiple charges of corruption all point to one simple conclusion: Dianne Wilkerson must resign her office, and she must do it today.

This is more than the sad tale of a highly capable person with a tragic flaw. It's time for voters to step back, reflect on what she has done over the years, take note of the crimes she now is alleged to have committed, and to accept that this is the story of a failed politician, a flawed human being.

The Wilkerson model of public service does an extreme disservice to the many honest and committed elected officials who strive every day to serve their constituents with integrity and honesty. The Wilkerson style makes it easy for the cynical to disparage all politicians, painting all with the same brush of greed and avarice. For that she should be ashamed.

The people should expect, indeed they should deserve, to be able to place their trust and confidence in those they elect. Since Dianne Wilkerson evidently has no self-control, her friends should tell her to abandon her reckless attempt to win re-election as a write-in candidate next week. Her district cannot risk the possibility of seeing their state senator serving a long jail term.

Senator Wilkerson, please do not spend one more day in office. Do the decent thing, resign from your public trust, and devote your coming days and months preparing your defense and seeking your own rehabilitation.