PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday his experience is that women who speak out about being sexually harassed are generally telling the truth.
But the governor declined to call for Rep. Don Shooter to resign, saying the investigation of chargesagainst the Yuma Republican should be allowed to play out.
“There’s no place for sexual harassment at the state Capitol or in the private sector,” Ducey said when asked about the multiple allegations made against Shooter. He called the complaints “serious.”
Ducey said he dealt with these kind of allegations before he was governor, when he was chief executive of Cold Stone Creamery.
“My experience has been when women come forward with allegations like this, there is truth there,” he said. He said he always dealt with them “seriously and urgently.”
“Sometimes it’s resulted in a termination,” he said. “Sometimes in resulted in discipline. Sometimes it’s resulted in retraining.”
But the governor, while saying he believes allegations being made against Shooter — acknowledging that the number of complaints is now up to nine —explained he was not prepared to say the lawmaker should quit.
“Because I am going to allow the investigation to take place,” he responded to questions.
Ducey said he has not talked with Shooter, with whom he has worked before on the state budget, since the allegations became public.
Shooter won’t be working on the budget for the coming fiscal year, at this point.
On Thursday, House Speaker J.D. Mesnard named Rep. David Livingston, R-Peoria, to chair the House Appropriations Committee, replacing Shooter. who was removed from the panel by the speaker late last week as the complaints from lawmakers, lobbyists and others began to pile up.Livingston had been vice chairman of the committee, which is charged wit helping to craft the state spending plan. Rep. Vince Leach, R-Tucson, will take the No. 2 spot on the panel.
In the meantime, a special task force of seven House staffers is looking into the Shooter allegations, with the help of an outside law firm.
Mesnard has said he hopes to have the issue wrapped up before lawmakers return to the Capitol the second week of January. But that could depend on what the task force finds.
Any conclusions there is evidence that Shooter is guilty of “disorderly behavior” would result in hearings before the House Ethics Committee. It would be up to that panel to recommend to the full House whether to take action against the 65-year-old legislator, with expulsion the ultimate punishment.