Missouri lawmaker abruptly resigns, cites rumors

AP News
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Posted: Feb 17, 2016 12:03 PM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A legislator from the St. Louis area abruptly resigned from the Missouri House on Wednesday, citing rumors about "some personal issues" as he became the third lawmaker to quit under pressure within the past year.

Republican Rep. Don Gosen of Chesterfield did not offer a specific explanation, either in an interview with The Associated Press or in his official resignation letter to Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson.

"There've been some rumors, stories floating around the Capitol the last week — some true, some not true," Gosen told the AP. "And with those come some personal issues that I'm addressing at home — none of those related to legislative duties, legislative activities."

Richardson said in a written statement that he asked Gosen to resign Tuesday night. He suggested that Gosen had been involved in something inappropriate, but he wasn't specific.

"At the beginning of this year, I said the actions of this body would not be defined by a few. I was serious then, and I am serious now," said Richardson, a Republican from Poplar Bluff. "That's why when I was made aware of the situation, I asked him to resign last night."

Richardson has tried to place a greater emphasis on ethical behavior by lawmakers after ascending to the House's top leadership position following the resignation last May of Republican House Speaker John Diehl, who quit under mounting pressure after acknowledging he had exchanged sexually charged text messages with a Capitol intern.

A couple of months later, Democratic Sen. Paul LeVota, of Independence, also resigned under pressure after being accused of sexually harassing interns. LeVota has denied the accusations.

Gosen, 53, first was elected to the House in 2010 and was chairman of the House Select Committee on Insurance. He is a married a father of three children who has been an insurance agent for the past 20 years. He also co-owns a brewing company, according to his biography on the Missouri House website.