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GUEST COLUMN: Restoring honor goes beyond Lebsock's removal

By: Dave Williams
November 19, 2017 Updated: November 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm
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Another dark shadow has been cast over the Colorado General Assembly giving citizens even more cause to "throw the bums out."

Recently, State Rep. Steve Lebsock has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women and I believe their stories. 

Because of his actions, Rep. Lebsock has lost the trust of his colleagues and the public and it's time for him to step down.

But the truth is we would never have arrived at this point if the State House Democratic leadership hadn't covered up for Rep. Lebsock for well over a year.

Their silence and mishandling of this issue put at risk other women for which they must be held accountable, too.

As in any crisis, you really get know the character and quality of those involved who either rise to the occasion or fail and thereby disqualify themselves from public service.

According to the confirmed reports from KUNC, the Denver Post, The Gazette, and other media outlets, Speaker Crisanta Duran and Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett admitted they were fully aware of Rep. Lebsock's sexual misconduct for well over a year as they now try to backpedal to keep from going down themselves.

Did anyone in Democratic leadership consider the rights of all other women working in the Capitol not to be put at risk?

What about preventing future victimization of others who may be caught in a vulnerable spot?

Rather than being responsible public servants and making the ethical decision to expel and expose Rep. Lebsock well over a year ago, Democratic leadership allegedly swept the matter under the rug.

They shamefully reasoned that keeping it quiet and isolating Rep. Lebsock from female Democrats was a sufficient, and ultimately politically expedient, solution.

Adding insult to injury, these same leaders then decided to promote Rep. Lebsock to a committee chairmanship, giving him more power.

And in a further display of disdain towards potential female victims, Democratic leadership allowed two female members of the Republican caucus to be seated on Rep. Lebsock's committee without saying a word.

They protected their own by only appointing Democrat men to the committee but didn't bother to try and also protect Republican women from further potential sexual harassment.

Kyle Clark with News 9 made a valid point during a recent broadcast of his nightly program.

He basically stated that the only reason that action is being taken against Rep. Lebsock now, is not because leadership discovered this scandal, but because the public became aware of this scandal.

Just like Hollywood covering up for Harvey Weinstein for so long, so too has the Colorado Democratic House leadership indirectly caused abuse of additional victims.

As a state legislator, I realize that the people have given us a sacred trust.

They expect us to conduct the people's business in an ethical and upright manner. That trust has been violated, not only by Rep. Lebsock but also by Speaker Duran, Rep. Garnett, and any other leaders who knew about this, yet did nothing to prevent future abuses.

In light of these troubling revelations, I'm reminded of the Air Force Academy's Honor Code that we would all do well to live by: "We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does."

Whenever sexual harassment, mistreatment, or misconduct from the likes of Weinstein in Hollywood or by priests in the Catholic Church have been exposed to the light of truth, our society has rightfully sided with the victims and rejected those who condoned the abuse with cover-ups and silence.

It should be no different in the Colorado General Assembly.

The archaic days of covering up corrupt and immoral behavior because of political expedience must end.

Any legislator, be they Republican or Democrat, who behaves in this despicable manner, or condones those who do through silence and inaction, needs to resign or be thrown out.

If there ever was a bipartisan issue that we can all agree on, this should be it.

If my fellow state representatives will join me, we can begin to restore the public's trust in government by expelling those leaders who betrayed their pledge to serve 'We the People."

Please call or write your state representative and simply ask, "What are you willing to tolerate?"

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Dave Williams, (R) is a state representative from Colorado Springs serving House District 15

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