Kansas Republicans Must Condemn Rep. Mark Samsel

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WASHINGTON — Kansas Republican Representative Mark Samsel was arrested last week after getting into a physical altercation with a student while substitute teaching, allegedly kneeing him in the groin. Somehow, the story doesn’t end there: Students shared disturbing videos showing the lawmaker talking about suicide, sex, masturbation, God, and the Bible. He even implied that a student attempted suicide because he was raised by two moms. Despite his arrest, however, Samsel returned to Topeka yesterday for the legislative session and Republican leadership declined to denounce or discipline the embattled lawmaker. 

“Mark Samsel has no business working with students or holding a position of power,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “Republicans in Kansas must condemn and discipline him for this disgusting behavior, but clearly they’re happy so long as he votes their way. Their silence is shameful.”

Samsel defended his behavior in a Facebook post and implied that the events were somehow staged. The superintendent of the school district said that he would no longer be allowed to work in the community’s schools. 

House Republican leadership made no mention of Samsel’s legal troubles yesterday and did not take a position on his fitness to remain in office. Some GOP lawmakers went so far as to defend the lawmaker, saying that they felt the behavior was out of character and surprising. Some parents, however, said that they had questioned his behavior for years. 

Samsel is the second Kansas lawmaker to be arrested this year; former Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop was charged with felony eluding and fleeing from the police after a drunk driving incident in March. Ironically, Samsel raised the possibility of impeaching Suellentrop, arguing that leaders must be held accountable for their actions.

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