State News

State Representative steps down from leadership role after reports of sexual and racial comments

Earlier this year, state Rep. Robert Brooks, R-Saukville, made sexually and racial demeaning remarks to three other lawmakers. Facing criticism from fellow GOP leaders – including Gov. Walker — Rep. Brooks resigned from his house leadership position but did not vacate his seat altogether.  

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger and Cameron Lane-Flehinger

State Representative Robert Brooks, R-Saukville, announced his resignation as Assistant Senate Majority Leader amid reports that he made inappropriate sexual and racial comments to several female lawmakers last summer, according to a press release from Republican representatives released Wednesday.

After three women collegues accused Rep. Brooks of racial and sexual remarks he had made at a July caucus in the Wisconsin Dells, other lawmakers — including Governor Scott Walker — called on him to resign. In response, Rep. Brooks stepped down from his leadership role, but refused to give up his position in the legislature.

"Representative Brooks' comments are offensive and disrespectful," Walker said in a tweet. "They have no place in our society and are inconsistent with the high standards that must be held by those in public office. He should resign from office, period."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported Rep. Robert Brooks made a racial remark to Rep. Jessie Rodriguez, R-Oak Creek, during an Assembly Republican event in the Wisconsin Dells last July. Rep. Rodriguez is the only Hispanic member of the GOP caucus.

The Journal Sentinel reported that Brooks, who had been drinking, said he was buying drinks for everyone "except Jessie because she's Hispanic." Brooks then bought drinks for several Republicans, but Rodriguez was not among them.

Rep. Rodriguez was one of the three female representatives who filed complaints against Rep. Brooks. Even though all three of the female representatives accepted his apologies, other lawmakers still condemned his remarks.

“On behalf of all Assembly Republicans, we condemn the offensive remarks that were made to our colleagues by Rep. Brooks last summer “ said Speaker Robin Vos and Rep. Jim Steineke in a statement Wednesday. “As members of the Assembly Republican leadership team, we have accepted Rep. Brook’s resignation as assistant majority leader in the Assembly.”

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