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Colorado Sen. Baumgardner, Accused Of Sexual Harassment, Stepping Down

A Republican state lawmaker accused of sexual harassment last session is resigning. Sen. Randy Baumgardner, who represents Northwest Colorado, is stepping down in late January.

His resignation comes after a top Democrat at the capitol suggested he might try to force Baumgardner out during the upcoming session if he didn’t leave on his own.

Leroy Garcia, who will lead the new Democratic majority in the Senate, said last month lawmakers need to be held to higher standards. “I think we’ve got some cleaning up and some things to do here in the State Senate and the General Assembly as well,” said Garcia.

Baumgardner was not appointed to any committees for the upcoming session, which starts January 4th.

An investigation conducted earlier this year found the lawmaker created a hostile work environment for some senate staffers at the Statehouse. In one case, he was accused of inappropriately touching a legislative aide.

Baumgardner told CBS4 Denver Monday night he is stepping down so that his family does not have to go through another expulsion vote.

Capitol Coverage is a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Eleven public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.

Copyright 2018 KUNC

Scott Franz is a government watchdog reporter and photographer from Steamboat Springs. He spent the last seven years covering politics and government for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, a daily newspaper in northwest Colorado. His reporting in Steamboat stopped a police station from being built in a city park, saved a historic barn from being destroyed and helped a small town pastor quickly find a kidney donor. His favorite workday in Steamboat was Tuesday, when he could spend many of his mornings skiing untracked powder and his evenings covering city council meetings. Scott received his journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is an outdoorsman who spends at least 20 nights a year in a tent. He spoke his first word, 'outside', as a toddler in Edmonds, Washington. Scott visits the Great Sand Dunes, his favorite Colorado backpacking destination, twice a year. Scott's reporting is part of Capitol Coverage, a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.