Sexual harassment big topic of discussion on opening day of Legislature

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DENVER — Traditionally on the first day of Colorado legislative session, there is pomp and circumstance and little political drama.

That was not the case this year at the Colorado Capitol on Wednesday.

While lawmakers attempted to discuss other issues ranging from transportation to opioids, the ongoing sexual harassment scandal loomed large.

“We must confront these issues head-on and successfully reform the culture of the Capitol,” House Speaker Crisanta Duran said during her opening day speech.

The occasion marked the first time Rep. Faith Winter and Rep. Steve Lebsock were in the same room together since the sexual harassment claims were made public.

Winter has accused Lebsock of sexually harassing her.

“For a number of weeks it was really hard to deal with,” Lebsock said. “But to be honest I am a Marine and Marines adapt.”

Winter brought two women who are also accusing Lebsock of harassment to sit next to her during the opening day remarks.

“This is about acceptable behavior and standing up to bullies, and I am honored to have these two women stand up with me today,” Winter said.

The big question now is how this story plays out over the next several months.

State Rep. Matt Gray has promised to remove Lebsock from the chamber in the coming weeks.

“When the investigation is completed, I intend to introduce a resolution to expel Rep. Lebsock,” Gray said.

For his part Lebsock has written a letter to each lawmaker outlining his story.

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