Don Shooter expelled from House following sexual harassment allegations
Feb. 1, 2018
Former state representative Don Shooter is no longer in the House following a nearly unanimous decision to expel him for sexual harassment claims.
“It was pressing that he either resigns or we expel him,” Rep. Kelly Townsend of District 16 says. “We can’t have that behavior around the already established victims, first of all. Even if we censured him, he’s still there, and they have to look him in the face. He could potentially victimize someone else.”
House Speaker J.D. Mesnard originally pushed to have the representative censured. However, following a statement by Shooter claiming that there was another government official guilty of a similar offense and his behavior leading up to the vote, the censure was changed to an expulsion.
“It was symbolic that his last action on the House floor was to take the microphone and drop it,” Townsend says. “You damage the microphone when you do that. It’s symbolic of the disregard to the pain caused when you behave in such a way… It’s just a microphone, but there’s a lot more that has been damaged.”
Statements from other representative were emotional, some speaking with tears in their eyes. Mesnard says the House is a family, and they had to get rid of one of their family members. Townsend agrees, saying anytime you have to terminate someone is not an easy task.
A House member has not been expelled since the 1940s. Townsend says there were some aspects of the situation that could’ve been handled better, but it was everyone’s first time expelling someone and that they learned from the experience.
As for the effect of this action, Townsend is hopeful that it resonated with everyone. She says she hopes Shooter seeks help, and that other members of the legislature won’t make the same mistake. For the bigger picture, she hopes this was the pebble in the water that will cause the ripples making other legislators around the country to look at their own policy.
The House Speaker was on Arizona Horizon Wednesday to explain why he handled the situation the way he did.