Senate GOP, Dem leaders ask for formal investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Lucido

Michigan State Senate | Susan J. Demas

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) on Wednesday afternoon wrote the Senate Business Office asking for a formal investigation into sexual harassment allegations against state Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Twp).

Michigan Advance reporter Allison Donahue tried to interview Lucido for a story on Tuesday while the senator was with a group of De La Salle Collegiate male students. Among his comments were: “You should hang around! You could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you.”

The story has since been reported by a number of Michigan and national outlets, including the New York Post, WXYZ-TV and the Washington Examiner.

I tried to interview Sen. Peter Lucido. He told me a group of schoolboys ‘could have a lot of fun’ with me.

Both Shirkey and Ananich criticized Lucido’s remarks while speaking with reporters Wednesday morning. Shirkey called them “very inappropriate” and Ananich said they were “disgusting,” adding, “That’s not how we’re supposed to act as senators; that’s not how we’re supposed to act as men, as leaders in this state, this country, this community.”

Lucido has only issued a brief statement: “I apologize for the misunderstanding yesterday and for offending Allison Donahue.” He has not reached out to Donahue or the Advance.

On Wednesday afternoon, the two top leaders in the Senate released a letter sent to the Senate Business Office, writing, “On behalf of Senators and staff, we are writing today regarding a recent incident of alleged harassment that occurred in the Senate. While you are likely aware of the situation, we feel an obligation to bring this matter to your attention pursuant to the Michigan Senate Policy and Procedure Manual.”

Senate GOP leader calls Lucido’s sexist comments to reporter ‘very unacceptable,’ Lucido issues Twitter statement

The senators attached a copy of Donahue’s Wednesday morning Michigan Advance story detailing her exchanges with Lucido and requested that “you review the attached article and investigate these allegations promptly and thoroughly according to the Senate Rules and the Senate Policy and Procedure Manual.”

The letter concludes with: “Sexual harassment has no place in the Michigan Senate. We take these allegations very seriously and trust that you will take appropriate action to resolve this matter.”

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Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.