Our view: It’s time for Baumgardner to resign | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: It’s time for Baumgardner to resign

After an outside investigation found the sexual harassment complaint filed against Colorado State Rep. Randy Baumgardner to be credible, the legislator stepped down as chair of the transportation committee but did not resign, denying the allegations that were made against him.

The Senate-initiated investigation was conducted by a third party, and the report found that it appeared "more likely than not" that Baumgardner grabbed and slapped the rear end of a legislative aide during the 2016 legislative session on several occasions.

In a press conference last week, Baumgardner called the findings of the investigation "flawed, inaccurate, incomplete and biased" but he said he was taking some voluntary steps to help bring the matter to a conclusion, which include giving up chairmanship of the transportation committee and attending sensitivity training at the request of State Senate President and GOP leader Kevin Grantham. Baumgardner did not opt to step down as chairman of the capital development committee or vice chairman of the agricultural committee.

While not a finding of guilt, the fact that the claims were shown to be credible leads us to believe there is some truth to the allegations, and as a result, we would call for Baumgardner to do more than give up a committee chairmanship. We think it's time for Baumgardner to resign as our state representative.

Baumgardner said at the press conference that he was ready to put "controversy behind us" and that the issue was "beginning to impede the important work we do here at the Capitol." We agree with Baumgardner's assessment but we believe the only way to do that is for Baumgardner to step down from all his legislative duties.

Again, we are not a court of law but the charge leveled against Baumgardner is a serious one, and we think it places a cloud over all of Colorado and our legislature, and it's interfering with important work that needs to be done by our state's elected officials. It's time for Baumgardner to do the honorable thing and step down for the betterment of his constituents, the state and his party.

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There has also been a lot of back and forth posturing by state leaders from both parties over this accusation, and it further saddens us to see partisan politics coming to play in the middle of a movement that is empowering women to come forward and bring instances of sexual harassment to light.

Sexual harassment in the workplace shouldn't be politicized. It's an issue of integrity, truth and protecting people of all genders from discrimination and abuse.

At issue: A sexual harassment complaint filed against State Rep. Randy Baumgardner was found to be credible by an outside investigator.

Our view: While not a verdict of guilt, the complaint is one that should be taken seriously and Baumgardner should do the right thing and resign.

Editorial Board
• Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher

• Lisa Schlichtman, editor

• Tom Ross, reporter

• Hannah Hoffman, community representative

• Bob Schneider, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com.