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To resign or not to resign? State lawmakers weigh in

Posted: 7:52 PM, Feb 23, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-27 00:39:11Z

KANSAS CITY, Mo — Following the indictment of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, 41 Action News reached out to all 158 members of the Missouri House.

We asked each representative if they believe the governor should resign or if they were waiting for the legal process to play out. 

15 lawmakers called for the governor to step down or consider stepping down and 12 were waiting for the process to play out. Several others provided statements but didn't say where they stood. 

Below are the responses we have received so far.

Lawmakers who want the Governor to resign or consider resigning:

State Rep. Shamed Dogan (R) Ballwin:

"Last week, Governor Greitens was indicted on a charge of invasion of privacy, the first Missouri Governor to be indicted while in office. When news of the Governor's actions first became public in January, I said that 'He owes the people of Missouri an honest explanation, and he deserves an opportunity to offer his side of the story. However, if the allegations are true, the Governor should resign.'

The Governor's side of hte story is not that he didn't take a photograph of a woman while she was undressed, blindfolded, and bound, or that it was taken with the woman's permission. It's that she had no expectation of privacy in that very vulnerable state.

I'm not a lawyer, so I can't judge the legal merits. But I can say that his is a shocking and revolting argument, particularly in the #metoo era. The idea that once two people are engaged in a consensual relationship, one of the people should be allowed to take and transmit nude photographs of the other without their permission, makes a mockery of the concept of consent. It also means that the Governor lied to the people of Missouri in January when he insisted that he didn't take a photograph at all. 

Although Governor Greitens may be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, it's hard to see how he can be an effective Governor or a leader of the Missouri Republican Party while fighting this case in court. It is with a heavy heart that I call on Governor Greitens to resign. I hope that we will act in the best interests of the people of Missouri, as well as the families involved, and put an end to this episode."

State Rep. Marsha Haefner (R) St. Louis:

Comments from Monday press conference calling on the Governor to resign.

"This all plays into why I initially asked for the governor's resignation. An affair is not the reason I ask that, it's all the other issues. The lying about it and running on integrity and family values. And then, only to find out those are just words and not who he is. And when you look at the other investigations taking place, it just all plays into why I think he's become ineffective at his job and we just need to move forward"

State Rep. Fred Wessels (D) St. Louis: 

“I called for his resignation when the story came out a month or so ago and have not changed my mind. Missouri deserves better than Greitens.”

State Rep. Kevin Engler (R) Farmington

“The governor has the right to defend himself in court but we’d like him to resign."

State Rep. DaRon McGee (D) Kansas City

"I don’t think he can govern. I think he’s lost the confidence of a lot of folks around the state and a lot of folks even in his own party."

State Rep. Greg Razer (D) Kansas City:

“It is time for Eric Greitens to resign as Governor of the state of Missouri. 

Over the coming weeks and months his priority will be in defending himself from the felony indictment handed down by the grand jury. Missourians deserve a Governor who can devote his/her entire time to governing the state - and who has the moral authority and integrity to lead. 

Given that the Governor has yet to resign, I’m happy to hear Speaker Richardson and House leadership announce that we will have our own investigation. While we must be careful to not do anything that would interfere with the criminal investigation, the House has the responsibility to investigate this matter and ultimately determine as a body whether we believe he is still fit to hold the high office of Governor. 

However, the Speaker decides to form the committee, it needs to be bipartisan and politics should not play a role - on either side. This is an important moment for the state of Missouri - it’s an important moment to hopefully show the citizens of Missouri that integrity can exist within our government. The House needs to act with a sober mind when making decisions on how to move forward. 

I have no reason to believe the committee established will do anything less. While I adamantly disagree with Speaker Richardson on many policy issues, I find him to be a person of integrity who respects the institution in which we both serve. 

Hopefully Mr. Greitens will spare us all, members of the House and the good people of this state, and simply do the right thing - resign.”

State Rep. Deb Lavender (D) Kirkwood:

"I think he should give it every consideration to resign for the good of Missouri."

State Rep. Judy Morgan (D) Kansas City:

“I don't believe that a sitting governor in MO has ever faced a felony indictment.  It creates such a dark cloud over the Greitens administration and I don't see how he can effectively govern.  If he really cared about the good folks in our state, he would resign.”

State Rep. Gail McCann Beatty (D) Kansas City, House Minority Leader

"It will be extremely difficult for the governor to effectively do his job with a felony indictment hanging over his head. While the criminal justice system must run its course, the governor needs to consider whether remaining in office under these circumstances is the right thing to do for not only himself and his family but for the people of Missouri."

State Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis (D) Ferguson:

“As someone who has asked the house to have a zero-tolerance policy with regard to sexual assault and harassment, I believe that the nature of this alleged crime tarnishes MO and do believe the governor should resign. Because he’s lost the moral authority to lead MO.   If he doesn’t I am fully supportive of a house led investigation to determine if impeachment is warranted.”

State Rep. Kathie Conway (R) St. Charles:

“I think the Governor should consider stepping down.”

State Rep. Lauren Arthur (D) Kansas City:

“I said it in January-and it’s even more true today, Eric Greitens needs to resign. If he refuses, those Republicans who were silent before need to help us hold him accountable now.”

State Rep. Becky Ruth (R) Festus:

“As I stated in January, the Governor should be held accountable for his actions. Yesterday’s indictment by the Grand Jury solidifies that, and I agree that the House needs to begin investigative proceedings. Everyone deserves their day in court. However, the question is there as to the Governor’s effectiveness in being able to lead our state. For the good of Missouri, it’s citizens, and our government Governor Greitens needs to resign.”

State Rep. Kevin Corlew (R) Kansas City:

“As I said in January, the actions attributable to Governor Greitens are deeply troubling, and he needs to be held accountable. In the wake of the grand jury criminal indictment, and with legal proceedings to come, I cannot see how he could effectively perform the duties of his office, let alone to lead with the kind of moral authority needed to make a positive impact. For the good of our state and the ideals we stand for, I believe that Governor Greitens should resign.”

State Rep. Nate Walker (R) Kirksville: 

“I called on the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader to start the process of an investigation into the finding of the indictment and other things related to the affair. The grand jury has weighed in and it’s time for the Missouri General Assembly to get involved. The investigation should be bi-partisan and fair.”

Lawmakers who are letting the process play out:

Joint Statement from:

State Rep. Todd Richardson (R) Poplar Bluff, Speaker of the House
State Rep. Elijah Haahr (R) Springfield, Speaker Pro Tem
State Rep. Rob Vescovo (R) Arnold

“We will carefully examine the facts contained in the indictment and answer the question as to whether or not the governor can lead our state while a felony case moves forward.  The people of Missouri deserve no less.  We will begin the process of tasking a group of legislators to investigate these serious charges.”  

State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick (R) Shell Knob

"At this point the House of Representatives has an obligation to investigate the circumstances surrounding the indictment of the Governor. The outcome of that investigation will determine my position on the Governor and whether or not he is fit to continue to serve.

Having not been privy to the testimony or the facts made available to the grand jury, I am not asking for the governor to resign at this time. 

To the question of whether or not the indictment is politically motivated, the answer is I do not know. What I do know is that the St. Louis City Prosecutor is a liberal Democrat with whom I served in the House of Representatives for four years prior to her election as prosecutor. It is without question that this investigation has elevated her political profile, and successfully convicting a sitting Republican Governor would absolutely elevate it even further. So, while I cannot say that I know this is a political witch hunt, all the ingredients for that recipe are present, and for that reason I believe it is prudent to wait for the House investigation to take place before making any determinations regarding the governor’s future."

State Rep. Ingrid Burnett (D) Kansas City

"I will wait until the investigation is completed before making a public statement."

State Rep. Rick Francis (R) Perryville:

“Let the process play out.”

State Rep. Bill Lant (R) Pineville:

“Let’s give it a chance to play out.”

State Rep. Steve Helms (R) Springfield:

“I believe that the courts will determine if any illegal act took place. Until that conclusion or more factual information, I will refrain for demanding that anything be done. My prayers go out to both families.”

State Rep. Lindell F. Shumake (R) Hannibal:

“I am not calling upon the Governor to resign at this time. I am waiting for the process to play out. There are a number of reasons why I am taking this position.

It seems to me that those who are pursuing the charges are people other than those directly involved. Ordinarily, the charge of Invasion of Privacy is a Class A Misdemeanor, but it can become a Class D felony if an image is transmitted via a computer. The Grand Jury, the judge and the attorneys know the complete set of circumstances at this point. The alleged incident occurred at or around March 15, 2015, before the Governor was known even to be a candidate for Governor. I also find it curious that the Statute of Limitations for this offense is 3 years and by around March 15 or 16, 2018 he could no longer be charged.

I believe that public servants should live up to the highest standards in both their private and public lives. The Governor's side of the story is that this was dealt with as a family matter three years ago and has been reconciled. For these reasons, I am still in the wait and see category.”

State Rep. Ken Wilson (R) Smithville:

“I will be waiting to see how it all works out, I spent a career in law enforcement and understand how this works. Like it or not he has the same rights as anyone else and deserves a fair process.”

State Rep. Rick Brattin (R) Harrisonville:

“I wholeheartedly disagree with the actions of the governor, but I do believe in people's right to due process, and right to a defense. I think cooler heads prevail in these sorts of matters. If the accusations are true then absolutely the governor needs to resign.”

State Rep. Jack Bondon (R) Belton: 

“These are very, very serious allegations. As a member of the House, it may become my duty to serve on the investigative panel being formed by Speaker Richardson in order to complete a thorough and impartial review of the facts.  So, I will not prejudge this matter without all the information necessary. The folks I represent deserve no less.”  

Other:

State Rep. Gina Mitten (D) St. Louis: 

"The man has been indicted so I think the fact that he's been indicted is a very serious matter and my sense is that given the Governor’s long history of unethical behavior he should take a long look at his ability to governor which has certainly been jeopardized."

State Rep. Kip Kendrick (D) Columbia

"The House will soon begin an investigation as a potential precursor to impeachment proceedings. Should the House investigative panel decide to pursue impeachment proceedings it will not be because of partisan politics. It will be a decision made by House members of both parties to move the state forward."

This scandal and the felony charge transcend partisanship. Now, it's about doing the right thing for the right reasons.

State Rep. Jean Evans (R) Manchester:

“We are discussing it among ourselves. He doesn't have much support, but not sure how many will call for a resignation.”

Lawmakers who have no comment:

State Rep. Chuck Basye (R) Rocheport:

“Respectfully, l have no comment.”