By DAVID EGGERT
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker apologized Wednesday a day after telling a young female reporter that a group of high school boys could “have a lot of fun” with her, prompting legislative leaders to request a sexual harassment investigation.
State Sen. Pete Lucido, a 59-year-old Republican from Macomb County’s Shelby Township, issued a short statement addressing a story in which a Michigan Advance journalist wrote of an incident that occurred outside the Senate chamber Tuesday.
Allison Donahue, 22, asked Lucido for an interview. He said he could talk after honoring roughly 30 students from De La Salle, an all-boys Catholic high school in suburban Detroit from which Lucido graduated.
“You should hang around! You could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you,” he said. The teens laughed, according to Donahue’s first-person account in the Advance, a nonprofit news site that covers politics and policy.
“I apologize for the misunderstanding yesterday and for offending Allison Donahue,” Lucido said, hours after initially telling the Detroit Free Press that he did not feel he owed the reporter an apology and saying he felt the quotes were taken out of context and had been blown out of proportion. It was not immediately clear if he apologized directly to Donahue.
Lucido chairs three committees and serves as majority whip.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Clarklake Republican, and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, a Flint Democrat, asked the Senate Business Office to investigate whether it amounted to sexual harassment.
“Sexual harassment has no place in the Michigan Senate,” they wrote. “We take these allegations seriously and trust that you will take appropriate action to resolve this matter.”
Earlier, Shirkey said he intended to “have a very intense and lengthy conversation with the senator as soon as we’re done with session. If those words that were reported are accurate, it’s very unacceptable and that’s all I’ve got to say about it.”
Ananich called Lucido’s comments “disgusting” and “idiotic.”
“What his statement, his apology was basically saying (is), ‘I’m sorry you realize I’m a jerk, and I’m a creep,'” he said, adding that journalists and “anyone in this building” should be offended. “Leaders in this state, whether they’re men or women, they don’t act like this.”
Lucido said this month that he was weighing whether to run for governor in 2022, when Democrat Gretchen Whitmer will be up for reelection.
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