Wisconsin legislator removed from committees over sexual misconduct fires back
Rep. Josh Zepnick/Wisconsin State Assembly
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Assembly leaders have removed a legislator accused of sexual misconduct from all his committees.
Two women have accused Rep. Josh Zepnick of kissing them at a 2011 candidate party and at the 2015 state Democratic convention. Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz has called for Zepnick to resign but Zepnick has refused.
Zepnick began the 2017-2018 session serving on five committees -- Energy and Utilities; Family Law; Federalism and Interstate Relations; Financial Institutions; and Mental Health.
Kit Beyer, a spokeswoman for Assembly Republican Speaker Robin Vos, said Tuesday that Hintz requested that Vos remove Zepnick from all those committee assignments and Vos complied.
Hintz confirmed he made the request and said he's consulting with Democrats and Republicans to ensure "this issue" is addressed appropriately.
Zepnick's responded late Tuesday with the following statement:
"I am very disappointed and disturbed by this move. I have been facing anonymous allegations all being done through news media reports.
Last time I checked, there is still a US Constitution that provides something called "due process" where I have the right to defend myself.
I have already issued a public apology and I have made clear that I am not resigning from my position.
Who represents the 9th Assembly District in the Legislature is a decision made by voters and there is another election season coming up in about 4 months. I will make a decision about running again at the appropriate time in my life.
Right now I am very focused on my family, as my father is dying of cancer and might not make it to see Christmas this year. My family and friends support me 200% as does my wife, who I have been amicably separated from since May of 2014.
I hope this unfair move by Assembly Democratic leaders is a temporary measure and I can continue serving with honor and do the job I was elected to do by the people of Milwaukee's South Side."