Affairs of the heart? No, of legislative leadership

Rep. J.D. Mesnard

By Ben Giles and Paulina Pined | Arizona Capitol Times

Eight male GOP state representatives have joined four of their female colleagues in calling for Reps. Michelle Ugenti-Rita and Rebecca Rios to be removed from their leadership roles during an investigation of their alleged inappropriate relationships with Capitol staffers.

The letter, first signed by Republican Reps. Regina Cobb, Jill Norgaard, Becky Nutt and Maria Syms, was originally sent to Speaker J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, and every member of the House on Friday.

Mesnard has the authority to strip Ugenti-Rita of her chairmanship on the House Ways and Means Committee. The speaker removed Rep. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, as chair of the Appropriations Committee after nine women, including Ugenti-Rita, accused him of sexual harassment.

It would take a vote of the Democratic Caucus to remove Rios, D-Phoenix, as their leader. Mesnard told the Arizona Capitol Times on Friday he would take the request “under advisement.”

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