State Watch

21-year-old Kansas state lawmaker arrested for second time in a month

A 21-year-old Kansas state lawmaker was arrested on Saturday for the second time in a month, prompting more calls for his resignation or ouster from office.

State Rep. Aaron Coleman (D), who represents Kansas City, Kansas, in the state legislature, was arrested by a state trooper at around 1 a.m. on Saturday on suspicion that he was driving while intoxicated, according to The Associated Press.

He was detained on Interstate 70 near Lawrence and taken to the Douglas County Jail. He was released after posting bond, according to the AP.

The Hill reached out to Coleman for comment.

When Coleman was arrested Saturday morning, he was already out on bond for a previous arrest on a charge of domestic battery, according to the AP. Police said Coleman got in a fight with his 18-year-old brother during which he pushed, hit and spit on him.

Authorities said the fight broke out because Coleman’s brother was going to get baptized, the AP reported, citing court documents. Coleman was also “uncooperative” with police and “extremely erratic” after the fight, which took place on Oct. 30, according to an affidavit.

Coleman has been under scrutiny since being elected to the Kansas state legislature in 2020. He bested incumbent state Rep. Stan Frownfelter (D) by 14 points in the Democratic primary before winning the general election.

Coleman briefly suspended his campaign in August 2020 after admitting to sending revenge porn and cyberbullying girls while in middle school but reversed course days later.

A number of local leaders are now calling on Coleman to resign.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) in a statement said Coleman is “not fit to serve” and that his “continued presence in the Legislature is a disservice to his constituents.”

“He should resign immediately and seek the treatment that he needs. If he does not resign, the Legislature should use its process to remove him from office,” she added, according to KCTV 5.

Kansas House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer said Coleman should “resign and concentrate on getting the help he badly needs,” according to KCUR.

“The stress of the legislature is not a healthy environment for someone in this mental state,” he added.

Coleman was forbidden from entering the Kansas Department of Labor’s offices last month, according to the AP, after he allegedly acted in a disruptive way. The lawmaker, however, said he was trying to assist his constituents.

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