(CitiznesOutpost) A second representative has been expelled since the MeToo movement began. Democratic Representative Steve Lebsock from Colorado was forced to step down, but in a surprising twist he changed political parties in the process, seeking asylum from accusations that he vehemently denies.
Via Fox News:
A Colorado state Democratic lawmaker was expelled Friday amid allegations by female colleagues about sexual harassment or abuse — but not before switching political parties.
Rep. Steve Lebsock was expelled by a 52-9 vote after five female state House members took their turns at the podium to come forward as victims of sexual harassment or abuse.
Democrat Rep. Faith Winter and four other women accused Lebsock of harassment and intimidation inside the Capitol and at area bars and restaurants.
Lebsock bitterly contested the claims, saying his accusers were lying and accusing an independent investigator of bias in concluding that the claims were credible.
Lebsock’s removal from office comes not long after the Arizona House expelled Republican Representative Don Shooter in early February. A removal of a lawmaker hasn’t happened in that region since 1991. Shooter was removed for alleged sexual misconduct between female lawmakers for years.
House members voted 56-3 to oust Shooter, R-Yuma, after a dramatic flurry of events that led House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, who had initially proposed censuring Shooter, to push for his immediate removal.
“This is a horrifying day,” said Mesnard, R-Chandler. “It’s no small thing to override the will of voters. I pleaded with Mr. Shooter to resign, to not force this vote. He would not back down.”
As the vote began, Shooter rose to speak. He bitterly defended himself to the end, though he acknowledged he has said and done “stupid things.”
The investigation that led to the vote found “credible evidence” that he behaved inappropriately toward seven women and had created a hostile work environment in the House.
A report on the inquiry graphically details lewd language and actions from Shooter, once a powerful Republican committee chairman, who has openly behaved in a crass manner, but did so unchecked by his peers for years.
Moments before voting began, female lawmakers from both parties gathered in a circle around Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, the first woman who publicly accused Shooter of harassment.
The women held hands, prayed and commiserated.
Standing alone at her desk, a visibly emotional Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, told The Arizona Republic, “I just want to support the other women and myself in the report, and I’ll be voting yes on the expulsion.”