A Democratic state lawmaker accused of trying to kiss two women at political events is apologizing for the incidents, but said he will not be resigning.
State Representative Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee) released a statement over the weekend, after two unidentified women told The Capital Times that he tried to kiss them at events in 2015 and 2011. One of the women was a state Democratic Party employee, while the other was a legislative staff member at the time. Both said Zepnick was drunk.
Zepnick said he does not recall either incident, although he added that it’s no excuse for the behavior and apologized for any distress he had caused. He noted that he’s a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for two years and that his “life is back on track.”
Democratic party leaders and several fellow Assembly Democrats have argued Zepnick should step down in the wake of the allegations. Rep. Jimmy Anderson (D-Fitchburg) said in a statement that lawmakers should hold themselves to a higher standard. “If we are going be leaders in our community then we must lead within our workplace,” he said.
Assembly Republicans were critical of Zepnick, but stopped short of calling on him to resign. In a joint statement issued Saturday, GOP leadership called the alleged behavior “reprehensible,” adding that Zepnick “has the responsibility to reflect on whether he can effectively represent his district in light of these circumstances and then, decide what’s best for his constituents and the institution as a whole.”