State Dem quits, acknowledges ‘consensual conduct’ with lobbyist
February 1, 2008
DENVER – State Rep. Michael Garcia, the third-ranking Democrat in the Colorado House, resigned Friday amid reports that a female lobbyist accused him of lewd behavior in a bar.In a statement, Garcia said he had engaged in “consensual conduct” with a lobbyist which he said was inappropriate given their positions but he said the press reports about his actions were “highly inaccurate.” He said he resigned because he didn’t want the incident to distract from the work of the Legislature.”The interests of the state are greater than my own. As a result, I have made the difficult decision to resign. I apologize for any hardship this has caused my constituents, friends, family and colleagues,” he said.The political Web site FacetheState.com reported the allegations Thursday and The Denver Post published a similar story on Friday. Neither identified the woman.Garcia, of Aurora, was the House assistant majority leader. He was first elected to the House in 2000 and planned to run for the state Senate this year. Term limits prevented him from running again for the House.He is single and engaged to be married.House Speaker Andrew Romanoff announced the resignation and later admonished his fellow lawmakers to watch their behavior, saying they must uphold the integrity and reputation of the House.”Our constituents expect us to do so, both within this building and without,” he said.Clerks later read a brief statement from Garcia: “I hereby submit my resignation from the Colorado House of Representatives.” Officials quickly removed his nameplate from his desk and put black tape over his name on the voting board.House Minority Leader Mike May, a Republican from Parker, called Garcia’s resignation “a sad ending for a great legislative career.”May said the action was proper if the allegations are true.”That action by anyone is not appropriate, whether you’re in the Legislature or not,” May said.Democrats said they would elect a new assistant majority leader next week.A vacancy committee made up of Democratic Party officials will convene in Aurora to select a new representative, but no timetable has been set. When a lawmaker resigns, members of his or her party get to chose a replacement under state law.