Democrat Daniel Kagan has resigned his seat from the Colorado State Senate effective January 11th. This follows nine months of controversy following allegations that Kagan repeatedly used a women’s restroom at the Capitol during the 2017 legislative session.
Daniel Kagan resigns
The Democratic State Senator announced his decision to step down in a statement released on Wednesday.
“It’s been a great honor to serve the people of Colorado for just short of a decade,” he wrote. “An important obligation of leaders, I believe, is to be open to acknowledging that it’s time to pass the torch to new leadership and, for me, that time is now.”
Kagan failed to say what he will be doing after leaving the Senate, or explain exactly what prompted his resignation. Media speculation has largely focused on the accusations, several substantiated, that Kagan has repeatedly used a women’s restroom in the Capitol near the Senate chamber.
Timeline of Kagan’s restroom issues
In early 2018 Republican Senator Randy Baumgartner faced sexual harassment allegations. For several weeks, Democrats made daily speeches from the floor calling for Baumgartner to be expelled. Daniel Kagan gave a speech on March 16th which was criticized for going into graphic detail about various forms of sexual harassment.
Kagan’s speech also brought forward allegations of his own alleged misconduct, specifically that he frequented one of the women’s restrooms.
Senate President Kevin Grantham, a Republican, was quick to bring the issue out into the open.
“What happened at the mic on Friday was despicable,” he said. “I had people coming to me Friday telling me — these are not people that are snowflakes or prudes or anything like that — these are people that come to me and were visibly shaken, emotionally upset over what they heard. And coming from this individual, that is known, known to frequent, habitually … the women’s restroom.”
Kagan admitted that he had accidentally used the women’s restroom, but only once. The men’s and women’s facilities are next to each other and at the time were unmarked.
“It was embarrassing,” Kagan explained. “And it’s the kind of embarrassing mistake you don’t make twice.”
But there were at least three witnesses willing to testify they had seen Kagan in the women’s room on different occasions. One of them, Republican Senator Beth Martinez Humenik, filed an official complaint in June.
“He’s been in the Capitol long enough to know where the correct facilities are. … I just want to see the behavior changed,” she said.
The report which followed determined that he had used the facility “more likely than not” at least three times during 2017.
Senator Martinez Humenik released a copy of the report in September, but not to pressure Kagan to resign, she claimed.
“All that is being asked for is a public apology for the benefit of all involved and his word not to repeat this behavior in the future,” she said. “He has stated that he is unwilling to do that, even in light of the facts in this report, so there was no other choice than to make these facts public and hold him accountable for his actions.”
Still no apology
Democrats regained control of the Colorado State Senate in the midterm elections, and will enjoy a 19-16 majority over the Republicans when the next session begins on January 4th.
Senator Martinez Humenik was one of the Republicans to lose her seat – but she is not happy that Kagan is leaving the Senate as well. She insists she still thinks he should apologize, not quit.
“I asked for a public apology to all involved, not a resignation,” she said. “We are all still waiting on his apology.”
Kagan’s seat will be filled by a vacancy committee next year.