MADISON (WKOW) — A top Republican in the State Assembly said he won’t resign after apologizing for inappropriate behavior towards three female colleagues during an event in July.
Representative Rob Brooks (R-Saukville) was asked by Governor Scott Walker to resign in a Twitter post. The Assistant Republican Majority Leader said he will resign from his leadership position but still plans to be on the ballot in November.
Representative Brooks' comments are offensive and disrespectful. They have no place in our society and are inconsistent with the high standards that must be held by those in public office. He should resign from office, period.
— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) September 26, 2018
First reported by the Journal Sentinel, Rep. Brooks directed a racial remark at Representative Jessie Rodriguez (R-Oak Creek), who’s the only Hispanic Republican in the Assembly. It occurred at a restaurant after a GOP caucus event in Wisconsin Dells, according to the Journal Sentinel who talked to sources who remained anonymous.
Brooks, who admits he was under the influence of alcohol during the encounter, later made sexual remarks to state representatives Cindi Duchow (R-Delafield) and Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton). Since the incident occurred, all three female lawmakers said in a joint statement they accepted his apology and would like to move on.
“Rep. Brooks’ comments were out of line in July and we made our views immediately known to him and the Assembly Chief Clerk. We were satisfied with the Assembly response this summer and have fully accepted Rep. Brooks’ apology.
While we respect his decision to resign his leadership position and appreciate the seriousness with which he takes the issue, it is beyond what we expected or even wanted. We have put the incident behind us; we would ask kindly ask others to do the same.”
Rep. Brooks said he regrets his decision and his comments in a statement. He was not able to be initially reached by phone.
“I regret that I made some stupid comments while under the influence of alcohol after our caucus in the Dells,” said Brooks in a statement. “I take full responsibility for my behavior and have apologized for my actions. I am ready to move on from this incident and fully support and will adhere to the Assembly policies to maintain a safe workplace for legislators and staff.”
The Assembly Republican leadership team, which includes Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), said in a statement they condemn the offensive remarks and have accepted his resignation as assistant majority leader in the Assembly.
“The three caucus members reported this incident last July to the chief clerk who dealt with it immediately. We believe the issue had been appropriately resolved but respect Rep. Brooks’ decision to resign his leadership post. The position will remain vacant for the rest of the session. The caucus will select new leadership positions in November following the election.”
Brooks will face Christine “Chris” Rahlf on the November ballot who’s running for the 60th Assembly District. Rahlf called his actions completely unacceptable, even if you’re under the influence.
“I don’t care if your sober or drunk, you treat everyone with respect,” said Rahlf. “Those kinds of comments are just not okay and we need to make sure they’re not okay for everyone, including our leadership.”
This incident comes after state lawmakers were required to attend a sexual harassment training during session amidst the multiple accusations from women around the nation reporting sexual miscount involving men.