Michigan lawmaker says 'volatile relationship’ with GOP colleague led to domestic abuse, threats

House Speaker says Michigan State Police are investigating
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Posted at 4:58 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 17:03:24-04

LANSING, Mich. — Democratic State Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) said in a statement Wednesday that she had a “volatile relationship” with Republican State Rep. Steve Marino and accused the GOP lawmaker of threatening her.

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State Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham)

"The unfortunate reality is that many people in our society have experienced domestic abuse, which often comes from someone we would never expect," Manoogian said. "None of us are immune to a volatile relationship, regardless of our career.”

"It can happen right here in our Legislature, where abuse of power and threats to ruin a colleague's reputation, as well as threats of public shaming, can be used to intimidate fellow members of the Legislature,” Manoogian added.

Manoogian has asked for privacy and details about the allegations are still limited, but on Tuesday Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell) removed Marino from his committee assignments and his chairmanship of the House Commerce and Tourism Committee.

In a statement Wednesday, Speaker Wentworth said Michigan State Police were investigating the claims.

“I will always prioritize the safety of state legislators and those who are serving their community at the State Capitol," Wentworth said. "Once I learned of this situation, I took immediate action. Going forward, the House is honoring Rep. Manoogian's request for privacy while others look into the allegations."

“The House will continue to assist with the Michigan State Police investigation, take every precaution to ensure Rep. Manoogian's safety, and ultimately allow the legal process to play out. We will be able to provide further updates at the appropriate time,” he added.

Michigan House Minority Leader Donna Lasinki says she stands by Manoogian.

"Our caucus is acutely aware of the challenges that come with being a female elected official and will not tolerate any threats of abuse, retribution and public embarrassment that are used to intimidate women," Lasinski said in a statement.

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