Stay Classy, Shawn Mitchell

UPDATE: In a press release from liberal activist group Progress Now, former Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler slams Mitchell for his little ‘joke’–but also Minority Leader Josh Penry, as close to oversight as Mitchell has. Full release after the jump: says Schoettler, “As a former elected official who’s been subjected to behavior like Mitchell’s in the past, I believe that we have to call this out every time it happens, and we absolutely must hold elected officials who stoop so low accountable.”

Sen. Shawn Mitchell, as we’ve had the unfortunate duty of noting previously, has a bit of a, well, distasteful side. Here’s a little snippet of audio we were forwarded this week from the Pinnacol investigative committee hearings, chaired by the lovely and gracious Sen. Morgan Carroll.

Can’t see the audio player? Click here.

We would probably not have been so gracious. It’s nice to see Sen. Carroll can laugh this sort of thing off, no doubt it’s not the first lecherous remark she’s had to handle gracefully in her life, but seriously–how was that in any way appropriate from one Senator to another in an official setting?

Really, folks, we’re adults here, and don’t claim to be all G-rated about stuff. But is it too much to ask for, you know, a small shred of decorum in the course of official duties? Something in between the bad-faith ‘proposals’ and Twitter bloviations to prove that our friends on the right…showed up for work on a given day taking the job seriously? Judging from this, and what we know about Mitchell in general, we’d guess he was about as serious in the Pinnacol oversight hearings as Greg Brophy was Tweeting his opinion of the “collectivists” on the Fiscal Stability Commission.

But at least Brophy kept his distinguished colleagues’ underwear out of the discussion.

Apology Demanded for Sexist, Degrading Remarks During Official Business

State Sen. Shawn Mitchell’s suggestion that a witness ‘imagine’ committee chairwoman ‘in her underwear’ latest in a string of unprofessional incidents by Senate Republicans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, September 4, 2009

CONTACT: Bobby Clark, Executive Director at 303-905-8375

DENVER–ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called Friday for apologies from two state Senate Republicans: Sen. Shawn Mitchell and Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, following sexist and degrading remarks toward a female Senator from Sen. Mitchell during a legislative committee hearing earlier this week.

During a hearing of a legislative committee tasked with investigating alleged abuses by the state’s workman’s comp insurer, Mitchell told a witness at the conclusion of his testimony that if he was nervous he should “relieve that” by “imagining the chairwoman in her underwear.” Mitchell also stated that this is “what I do when I’m nervous.”

“It certainly looks like Shawn Mitchell singled out the chairwoman of the committee, Sen. Carroll, with his sophomoric, suggestive comment for no other reason than her gender and position of authority. How childish of him to insult not just Sen. Carroll, but women everywhere who daily face the silliness of sexism and trivialization in our culture,” said ProgressNow Colorado board member and former Lt. Governor Gail Schoettler. “As a former elected official who’s been subjected to behavior like Mitchell’s in the past, I believe that we have to call this out every time it happens, and we absolutely must hold elected officials who stoop so low accountable.”

“What Mitchell did was bad enough, but it signals another problem,” said Schoettler. “As we saw before when Sen. Scott Renfroe referred to a ‘Biblical’ death penalty for gays or Sen. David Schultheis spoke of his ‘hope’ that babies might ‘have AIDS,’ Senate Republicans seem willing to tolerate demeaning and ugly rhetoric from their members, and Minority Leader Josh Penry is either too weak or tone-deaf to get control of his caucus. This isn’t just another case of right-wing extremists going off the reservation–it’s a failure of leadership.”


53 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlue says:

    But I have to say, Shawn Mitchell made my skin crawl long before this incident. If I were Sen. Carroll I would have had a little decorum breach of my own, but that’s why she’s a Senator and my job lets me say what I think to people like Mitchell.

    As for the Brophy comparison, Pols: do you think Brophy has the balls to imagine out loud John Morse in his underwear? Of course not, and not just because it’s an inherently sexist practice.

  2. Middle of the Road says:

    Ick. Come on, man. Honestly. Why would he even say something like that? I know the old adage about picturing everyone in their underwear when you are nervously getting ready to speak in front of a crowd (Public Speaking 101). I don’t think this quite qualifies.  

  3. ThillyWabbit says:

    He like to show them off even. He’s probably fantasizing about his really great abs somewhere in proximity to the naked chairwoman.

    sxp151, are you sure there’s no evidence? He’s clearly a wanker.

    • Fidel's dirt nap says:

      I think Morgan should buy him a XXL pair of granny panties and present them to him in front of the full house when they are back in session.

      This was not as bad though as the Glenn Beck comment that somebody posted this week.  I am reposting it here.  Now THAT was some awkward silence.

      Beck and Mitchell have mad skills with the ladies.

  4. WestSloper says:

    I am wondering about Shawn, too — is he a boxer or briefs man?  

  5. twas brillig says:

    Mr. Family Values must be a real wild man as soon as he’s set loose without adult supervision.  

  6. gizzie59 says:

    This site has become so horribly disgusting!! Has anyone who goes on this site ever sat through these committee meetings?? I highly doubt it from the posts that I see! He made a joke and yes it was funny wow seriously I can not believe this is a post!! This used to be a site for political insiders, but obviously it has gone WAY down hill!  I have to say whether you agree with him or not that Shawn Mitchell is an extremely intelligent man and a very good legislature!!  For Pols to post something like this is highly disrespectful!!  I’ve heard many more elected officials say WAY worse things than this to women and this just shows how partisan (LIBERAL) this site has become!! It is so sad.

  7. OneEyedOwl says:

    such a comment would be actionable as sexual harassment, whether or not it was made in jest.

  8. The realist says:

    He should issue a public apology to Sen Carroll, if he hasn’t already.

  9. DavidThi808 says:

    She imagines Shawn Mitchell – works every time.

  10. redstateblues says:

    But Morgan Carroll is kind of hot. Just sayin’.

  11. jaytee says:

    was “fiscal conservative” Mitchell’s apologist stance toward the abuses of the Pinnacol execs, who got fat and happy over the last decade while denying service to injured workers. Mitchell’s sniggering sense of humor rounds out his full-spectrum grossness. This is an ideologue who battles tax increases at every step while celebrating the Wall Street-style executive bonus culture that has brought this country to its knees.

  12. RedGreen says:

    that this was first reported in this morning’s Colorado Statesman, which hasn’t put this week’s stories up online yet.

  13. ClubTwitty says:


    The liberal activist group ProgressNow Colorado on Friday demanded apologies from state Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, and Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, for what the group called “sexist and degrading” remarks Mitchell made during a legislative committee hearing this week.

    …In a prepared statement, former Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler, a ProgressNow Colorado board member, chastised Mitchell for making a “sophomoric, suggestive comment” and said Penry “is either too weak or tone-deaf to get control of his caucus.”

    Reached late Friday afternoon, Penry called Mitchell’s remark “an obviously inappropriate comment” and said Mitchell “should make it right” with Carroll.

    “And since we’re in the business of asking people to apologize for the actions of others, I call on Ms. Schoettler to apologize for (Gov.) Bill Ritter’s massive car tax increase, his job-killing oil and gas rules, and for repealing the Senior Homestead Property Tax Exemption,” Penry wrote in an e-mail.

  14. Half Glass Full says:

    OK, so we now know that Mitchell fantasizes to visions of Morgan Carroll in her underwear. Ohhh…kaayyy…

    What a stupid and undisciplined thing for him to say in a public setting with a taped microphone. He should know that as a conservative “family values” candidate the bar is set high for him. He can’t afford screw-ups like that.

  15. tmgt says:

    has always been a perv. Just not this publicly before.

    Back in the day when Dems were in the minority in the House, Mitchell used to rate the assess of the young female staffers.

    One became so incensed, that she turned on her heals, poking him repeatedly in the chest, calling him a disgusting hypocrite.  She wondered aloud what his good Mormon wife would think of his antics.

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