The Arizona House of Representatives voted to remove Rep. Don Shooter from his position after a report revealed he sexually harassed multiple women, according to the Associated Press. The Republican representative of Yuma, Arizona is believed to be the first lawmaker expelled from his seat since the #MeToo movement began in October. Several other legislators around the country have chosen to resign after being accused of sexual misconduct.
The report that damned Shooter came from legislative leaders of his own party. Republican Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita accused Shooter of asking her for sex and commenting on her breasts repeatedly. Other women including Mi-Ai Parrish, a former publisher of one of Arizona’s newspapers, came forward saying he subjected them to sexual comments and harassment.
Shooter sent a letter to his fellow legislators last Thursday that claimed the investigation into his misconduct ignored accusations against another House member, but did not name who. After that letter, the Republican House Speaker J.D. Mesnard decided to move for a vote to expel the representative. Shooter told AP that he should be punished for his actions, but didn’t deserve to be kicked out of the House.
“I've had two, three months to think about this. I did wrong, I deserve a censure," he said. "But I'll tell you this. I was sent here by the people of District 13. And to the best of my knowledge, I've never betrayed that trust, never, never. Not for monkey business, not for contributions, not for influence, not for power, not for anything. And by God, they're the ones who should throw me out if they want to throw me out. And they may.”
The complaints against Shooter arose in October 2017. The report that followed substantiated a number of the claims, leading to his expulsion. Shooter, on the other hand, denies the severity of the accusations but admitted that he made “jarring, insensitive, and demeaning” comments toward women. "I say stupid things and do stupid things I guess," he said. "And I stood up, I apologized to those that I hurt that were legitimate. I can't change the past, but I can change the future if I'm given the opportunity."
Shooter’s removal from office is another example of how the #MeToo movement is pushing change in the political world as well as in entertainment. Over the weekend, Sen. Marco Rubio fired his Chief of Staff following sexual misconduct accusations.