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Oklahoma regent resigns over role representing drug maker

OKLAHOMA CITY — 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 & Johnson 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.

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