Party animal Arizona lawmaker expelled from office after #MeToo movement


PHOENIX (AP) — Known for booze-fueled partying and good-ol' boy, clownish behavior, Rep. Don Shooter spent the past seven years as a hard-to-miss fixture who wielded considerable power at the Arizona state Capitol.

But on Thursday, he was kicked out of the Arizona Legislature for a lengthy pattern of sexual misconduct.

The whispered rumors about the retired and married Yuma farmer were brushed off as the actions of a country bumpkin jokester until October when the #MeToo movement prompted millions of women to share their experiences with sexual harassment or assault on social media.

Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita then publicly accused Shooter, fellow Republican, of propositioning her for sex years ago and repeatedly commenting on her breasts.

Spurred by the movement that erupted after a New York Times expose about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, other women came forward against Shooter at a dizzying pace — lobbyists, a newspaper publisher and other female lawmakers.

"This all began years ago when Mr. Shooter began making inappropriate comments and gestures to people and culminated today," Republican House Speaker J.D. Mesnard said after Shooter was booted out of office on a 56-3 vote.

"Certainly the #MeToo movement and the greater awareness not only here but nationally over issues of sexual harassment and other similar offenses brought this to the forefront."

The investigative report released Tuesday found Shooter had engaged in "repeated pervasive conduct (that) created a hostile work environment for his colleagues and those with business before the Legislature."