Impact: Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigns image

Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigned today.

Bryson, who is suspected of felony hit and run following two crashes last week in San Gabriel and Rosemead, suffered a seizure, according to a Commerce Department spokeswoman.

Bryson, 68, was treated at a hospital following the crashes around 5 p.m. Saturday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department and the San Gabriel Police Department said in a joint statement.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday afternoon that officials were still trying to learn more about the accidents. “We’re obviously concerned about the incident, concerned about Secretary Bryson’s health-related issues that played a role in this incident,” he said.

Asked if Bryson still remained healthy and fit to serve, Carney demurred, referring the question to the Commerce Department.

“We’re still in the process of gathering information about it,” Carney said.

Bryson was driving a Lexus in the 400 block of South San Gabriel Boulevard shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday, when he allegedly rear-ended a Buick as it was waiting for a train to pass, according to the statement.

After briefly stopping to talk to the three men inside the Buick, Bryson left the location in the Lexus and then struck the Buick a second time, authorities said. The men followed Bryson’s car and called 911 to ask for police assistance.

The Letter to the Commerce Department:

Dear Commerce Team,

I have informed the President that I am resigning as Secretary of Commerce.

The work that you do to help America’s entrepreneurs and businesses build our economy and create jobs is more important now than ever and I have come to the conclusion that I need to step down to prevent distractions from this critical mission.

I feel privileged to have been part of the progress we have made together for our businesses and workers as they “build it here and sell it everywhere.”

As I step down from the Cabinet, Dr. Blank will continue to serve as Acting Secretary. As you know, she provided very able leadership in this role last year, and I have every confidence that on her watch going forward the Commerce Department will continue to fulfill its mission with excellence.

In my personal capacity, I will continue to do everything I can to support the President and America’s businesses as they continue to advance innovation, U.S. competitiveness, and prosperity for our people in the months and years ahead.

Thank you for your many thoughtful and kind notes over this last week. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve with you.

Sincerely,

John Bryson

Bryson led Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, until retiring in 2008. He also served on several corporate boards, including the Walt Disney Company and Boeing.

-update 1:
Obama did not address whether he would nominate a successor to Bryson, only that he is confident Blank “will serve the American people well as Acting Secretary and that the Commerce Department staff will continue their tireless work putting forward policies that help our workers and businesses compete.”