TRENTON, N.J. – A contrite Gov. James E. McGreevey (search) gave a farewell address Monday in which he detailed his accomplishments in office and said he does not apologize "for being a gay American."
McGreevey, who is to step down Nov. 15, used the speech to list several accomplishments of his administration, but he also expounded on the soul-searching that has occupied his time since his stunning resignation announcement three months ago.
McGreevey resigned over a gay affair with a man identified as Golan Cipel (search) -- hired by the governor as his homeland security adviser. Cipel has steadfastly denied any involvement with McGreevey and has alleged he was sexually harassed by the governor.
"I am sorry that I have disappointed the citizens of the state of New Jersey who gave me this enormous trust," McGreevey told a crowd of about 400 people at a museum. "I am not apologizing for being a gay American but rather for having let personal feelings impact my decision-making."
He highlighted reforms of the state's child welfare agency, environmental protections and benefits for domestic partners as the top achievements of his administration. But the bulk of the speech focused on McGreevey's thought about what he called the nation's divisive political climate and his inner thoughts about being "an American who just happens to be gay and proud."
"I don't look back with bitterness, anger or sorrow. I look forward to seeking knowledge, a journey of self-discovery," said the governor, who quoted from philosophers and poets during the address.
The GOP criticized McGreevey for staying in office so long after announcing in August that he would resign because of the affair. They say his term was marked by ethical missteps made by both the governor and members of his administration, and his legacy will be dogged by his ethics troubles.
Assembly Republican leader Alex DeCroce of Morris County said the reality is the governor disgraced himself and the state. DeCroce said the only people who did exceptionally well under his administration were "his friends and campaign contributors."