Politics and eggs
Pueblo topics include vote on Lebsock expulsion
BY ZACH HILLSTROM
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
A trio of local lawmakers gathered at the Pueblo Convention Center on Saturday to talk politics with constituents during the second Legislative Breakfast of 2018.
In the event hosted by the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce and Parkview Medical Center, state Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, joined state Reps. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, and Judy Reyher, R-La Junta, to discuss bills on which they’re currently working, as well as issues being addressed at the state capitol.
Each lawmaker was given four minutes to address the crowd of approximately fivedozen people, consisting of members of the general public, as well as local industry leaders.
Garcia provided an update on his measure asking Congress to build a new VA hospital, saying it recently passed through the House.
Other bills and measures discussed included House Bill 1107, which would require home builders to offer buyers of new homes the option to accommodate electric vehicle charging systems, and House Bill 1231, which would repeal Columbus Day as a state holiday, replacing it with election day as one
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Many of the House bills that citizens had questions about had not yet been seen by Esgar or Reyher, both of whom said many items of House business had to be put on the back-burner last week as the Legislature dealt with the impending expulsion proceedings of Rep.
Steve Lebsock, who was expelled Friday by a vote of 52-9.
Both Esgar and Reyher detailed the nature of their votes — Esgar voted yes on the measure to expel while Reyher voted against — and explained their rationales in deciding Lebsock’s political fate.
Reyher told the crowd there was only one investigator from one investigating firm who evaluated the claims about Lebsock, which she said played heavily on her decision.
“Since we were taking the life of this man in our hands, and we were the judge and jury … I wasn’t clear enough in my heart that I could make that judgment call,” Reyher said.
Esgar, who addressed the House during Friday’s debate to expel and shared her own personal stories of being harassed and sexually assaulted, said she felt it was her duty as a legislator to evaluate the evidence placed in front of her by the third-party nonpartisan investigating firm, which found 11 incidents reported by five women to be credible.
“In any other position, somebody who had these types of investigation-found credible grievances would’ve been fired,” Esgar said.
“We are not above the laws that are made for everyone else. … This is behavior unbecoming of a person, let alone a legislator. I feel like when we put these badges on, we are lifted to a higher standard of accountability, and if we’re not going to take that measure (to expel), nobody else would have.”
The scandal surrounding the Lebsock allegations may be coming to a close with his expulsion, but scandals surrounding sexual harassment are likely far from resolved at the capitol.
Garcia addressed how similar proceedings may soon be taking over the state Senate, where three Republicans are facing scrutiny over claims of sexual harassment.