AZ House votes to expel Rep. Don Shooter - Tucson News Now

AZ House votes to expel Rep. Don Shooter

Rep. Don Shooter spoke on the House floor before lawmakers voted to expel him for sexual harassment.(Source: House TV) Rep. Don Shooter spoke on the House floor before lawmakers voted to expel him for sexual harassment.(Source: House TV)
House votes to expel Rep. Don Shooter from office following release of sexual harassment investigation (Source: 3TV/CBS5) House votes to expel Rep. Don Shooter from office following release of sexual harassment investigation (Source: 3TV/CBS5)
Resolution to expel Rep. Don Shooter from office (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Resolution to expel Rep. Don Shooter from office (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Female lawmakers gathering around Michelle Ugenti on the House floor before vote Female lawmakers gathering around Michelle Ugenti on the House floor before vote
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Arizona House voted Thursday to expel Rep. Don Shooter following claims of sexual harassment. 

Before the vote, Shooter addressed the House.

"I've said stupid things," Shooter said during the hearing. "I've done stupid things."

[WATCH: Don Shooter addresses House members before vote]

Rep. Shooter has been under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct since State Representative Michelle Ugenti-Rita came out with the allegations back in November.

[RELATED: Powerful lawmaker accused of sexual harassment at AZ State Capitol]

Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard released the following statement Thursday:

“The outside investigators, who Rep. Shooter praised on Tuesday, have thoroughly examined every allegation made, including the allegation referenced in Rep. Shooter’s letter. After addressing issues of privacy and relevancy, they included their findings in the report.”

“I’ve spoken with the individual referenced by Rep. Shooter, and the individual has stated that the letter does not reflect the individual’s reaction to the report. Rep. Shooter’s letter is nothing more than an effort to use the individual as a pawn – despite repeated requests from the individual’s attorney that Rep. Shooter not do anything to jeopardize the individual’s anonymity. He’s not standing up for the victim but rather is further victimizing the individual.”

“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.”

On Tuesday, Mesnard had announced that the investigation did find that Shooter had violated the chamber's sexual harassment policies.

[RELATED: Probe finds Arizona lawmaker broke sex harassment rules]

Mesnard also announced that Shooter has been permanently removed from all committee assignments.

Some, including Republican Majority Whip Kelly Townsend, have been calling for Shooter's resignation. She said she would move for an expulsion vote if he didn't step down. 

Meanwhile, some other Republicans believed Shooter deserved a lesser penalty or a chance to defend himself.

Expulsion required support from 40 members, but more than 40 voted to expel him.

The final vote was 56 votes to expel Shooter and 3 votes against.

Rep. Lawrence said he decided to vote for expulsion despite his friendship with Shooter.

[ASSOCIATED PRESS: Arizona lawmaker faces vote to kick him out over allegations]

"Because it is just and fair, I vote yes," he said.

Rep. Allen had urged members to vote with their conscience.

"I do believe this individual needs to be removed from our fellowship," he said.

Rep. Kern said, "I know the voters have sent me here to do what is right."

"I'm here to change policy," he continued just before his "Yes" vote. "I'm here to do what is right." He also said if Don Shooter were an employee of his, he would have been fired.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Politics]

Following the vote Thursday by the House to expel  Shooter, Gov. Doug Ducey released the following statement:

"I support the decision of the House of Representatives. They did the right thing today. This should send a strong message: Everyone should be treated with respect, and there is no room for this behavior anywhere."

And City of Phoenix Councilwoman Kate Gallego released this statement:

“Today shows that victims, when given the space to be heard, can push back against those who seek to intimidate, bully, and harass them. It also highlights the responsibility of all governing bodies to have policies and procedures in place to deal with those members who so grossly abuse their power.  The city of Phoenix lacks a policy, and I am working to change that.  We will be bringing forward a draft policy on harassment to subcommittee on Tuesday, Feb. 20th and to a vote of the full council on Tuesday, Feb. 27th.”

Shooter is believed to be the first state lawmaker in the U.S. to be voted out of his seat since the MeToo movement against sexual misconduct began last fall.

Shooter has said he's done nothing to justify expulsion. He made a last-ditch effort to avoid a vote Thursday by sending a letter questioning the thoroughness of the report that found evidence of pervasive misconduct.

[RELATED: Rep. Shooter writes letter addressing sexual harassment allegations]

The letter reads, in part: 

"I have come to understand the devastating impact of sexual harassment and no legislator, me included, has the right to sexually harass anyone. I have heightened sense of awareness and compassion for those I have hurt and have been hurt by others."

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