Kansas House panel to warn new member over past behavior

photo by: Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP

Rep. Aaron Coleman, D-Kansas City, makes remarks during a special hearing regarding complaints and calls for removal from his position Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

TOPEKA — A legislative committee decided Friday that it will send a newly elected Kansas House member an informal letter admonishing him over issues that include an alleged threat against a top lawmaker and accusations of abusing or threatening girls and young women.

The House committee reviewing a complaint against Rep. Aaron Coleman, of Kansas City, Kan., said the letter would include a list of expectations for Coleman’s future behavior and a statement that future problems will lead to a new complaint. The panel’s three Democrats preferred stronger action against Coleman, but its three Republicans were wary of disciplining him for actions occurring before he took office.

Some Democrats have wanted Coleman ousted from office.

The 20-year-old Coleman was elected to the House as a Democrat after unseating a veteran lawmaker in the August primary. But party officials disowned him over allegations about his past conduct and he’s since become unaffiliated.

He told the committee that he would abide by whatever it asked.

A new allegation surfaced Friday. House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer’s former chief of staff said in a written statement that Coleman called her during the summer after House Democrats criticized Coleman and made threats to physically harm Sawyer. Coleman denied it.


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