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Idaho Rep. Heather Scott: ‘I apologize to every member of the House’

Jan. 18, 2017 Updated Wed., Jan. 18, 2017 at 10:47 p.m.

BOISE – Outspoken Rep. Heather Scott issued a statement apologizing to every member of the Idaho House for her comments about female House members advancing into leadership jobs via sexual favors.

“In retrospect, I should have chosen my words more carefully,” Scott, R-Blanchard, said in her written statement. “I apologize, to every member of the House, again, for not being more careful. I commit to be more diligent in speaking in the voice and words of a statesman in all my conversations.”

Scott said she wants to seek “reconciliation,” and asked House GOP leaders to work with all House members to bring it about.

Last week, Scott was stripped of all her committee assignments for her comments and behavior that other lawmakers found disturbing.

Friday night she went on talk radio in Boise and repeated the controversial comments; she also sharply criticized a fellow female representative who had an affair with a state senator, and made mention of other concerns about various public officials’ behavior. She told radio host Nate Shelman that she’s “probably” a martyr, and suggested she was being disciplined as part of a cover-up of the wrongdoing of others.

“We have all these documented lawbreakers,” Scott said on the radio show. “Why was I chosen because I said something? That’s my freedom of speech. I didn’t break any laws.”

Scott also claimed on the radio show that charges that she damaged the Capitol while hunting for a listening device were false, but on Tuesday, two GOP state representatives said they witnessed Scott use a knife to cut off a purported “bug” from the ceiling directly above her office cubicle area in the Capitol basement.

On Monday, five other GOP lawmakers, four of them in their first week in office, asked that they, too, be stripped of their committee assignments until Scott gets hers back. That was unprecedented; House Speaker Scott Bedke said he wouldn’t grant the request, and the five have continued attending and participating in their assigned committees.

House Republicans held a two-hour, closed-door caucus meeting Wednesday afternoon just after Scott distributed her apology statement to the media.

Afterward, Bedke said he had nothing to announce. He said there’s been no decision made on whether to reinstate Scott’s committee assignments.

Bedke, who hadn’t yet seen Scott’s written statement, said, “Apologies in my book include the following: I am sorry. What I did was wrong. What do I need to do to make it right? I will work with the offended to make it right.”

He said, “I hope that Rep. Scott has apologized to everyone. … It’s high time that she did. Her careless words have impugned the morality and integrity of a lot of good people. Words mean something. I am hopeful that the House of Representatives can get past this.”

In Scott’s statement of apology, she said, “As part of our joint effort I hope the whole House can find ways to keep the sphere of offense from growing any further. As that sphere grows it will only create further division. That will serve no one. I have sought to apologize to several representatives in personal meetings. I am prepared to meet privately with anyone who, like me, wants to reach full reconciliation.”

“From Speaker Bedke and the rest of leadership, I request application of your best leadership skills to bring about the reconciliation that is needed,” she said. “Please encourage every representative to work to bring the House back into order so we can tend to our real business. Specifically, I ask that leadership work with everyone to keep this whole thing from spinning further out of control.”

Bedke said, “I’m optimistic that we as a group can move on. That is my sincere desire. … The legislative process has started. I’ll do everything I can to make sure that we consider the people’s business at hand, not a distraction.”

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