State Lawmaker Earns Dubious Honor With a #MeToo Burn

Arizona Rep. Don Shooter may be first state lawmaker to be voted out for sex misconduct
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 1, 2018 4:30 PM CST
He May Be First State Lawmaker Voted Out for Sex Misconduct
In this Jan. 9, 2018, file photo, Arizona state Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, left, listens as Rep. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, reads a statement regarding sexual harassment and other misconduct complaints made against him by Ugenti-Rita and others on the House floor at the Capitol in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

The Arizona House voted Thursday to expel a Republican lawmaker after a report ordered by legislative leaders of his own party showed he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment toward women. Rep. Don Shooter of Yuma is believed to be the first state lawmaker in the US to be voted out of his seat since the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct began last fall, per the AP. Other legislators nationwide have resigned or been stripped of their leadership posts after being accused of misconduct. The fallout comes months after Republican Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita said Shooter propositioned her for sex and repeatedly commented on her breasts. Many other women, including the then-publisher of Arizona's largest newspaper, then complained that he subjected them to inappropriate sexual comments or actions.

Shooter had been facing censure, but Republican House Speaker JD Mesnard moved for a vote to expel him after Shooter sent a letter to fellow lawmakers Thursday. It alleged the investigative report Mesnard commissioned into Shooter's and Ugenti-Rita's behavior whitewashed accusations against another House member that were far worse than what Shooter is accused of doing. "Rep. Shooter's letter represents a clear act of retaliation and intimidation, and yet another violation of the House's harassment policy, so I will be moving to expel him from the House of Representatives immediately," Mesnard said. Shooter—who says he's said and done "stupid things" but didn't sexually harass anyone—tells the AP he deserves to be punished but not expelled. "I did wrong, I deserve a censure," he said. "But I'll tell you this. ... To the best of my knowledge, I've never betrayed [the people's] trust. ... And by God, they're the ones who should throw me out if they want to throw me out."

(More sexual misconduct stories.)

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