Kansas Gov, Dem colleagues call on 21-yr-old Dem rep to ‘get help’ and resign after second arrest

A 21-year-old Kansas state legislator has been arrested for the second time in a month, which reignited calls for him to either resign or be removed from office.

Rep. Aaron Coleman, a Democrat representing Kansas City, KS., in the state legislature, was busted by a state trooper early Saturday morning on suspicion of driving drunk, The Associated Press reported.

The newswire said Coleman was stopped and detained around 1 a.m. along I-70 near Lawrence and taken to the Douglas County jail. The AP noted that he was released after posting bond.

At the time of his arrest, Coleman was out on bond for a charge of domestic battery, the AP reported. Police say he pushed, spit on, and struck his 18-year-old brother during a fight, which led to his arrest.

Police noted that the fight broke out because Coleman’s brother was going to be baptized, according to court documents cited by the AP. Authorities went on to say that the state lawmaker was “uncooperative” with officers and that he behaved in an “extremely erratic” manner after the Oct. 30 fight, an affidavit says.

Coleman has been a subject of controversy since before and after his election to the state legislature in 2020 after beating incumbent Democratic Rep. Stan Frownfelter by 14 points in the party’s primary ahead of his general election win.

He suspended his campaign for a brief time in August 2020 after he admitted that he sent revenge porn and that he was a cyberbully to girls while he was attending middle school. However, he admitted making “mistakes” and rejoined the race a few days later, The Hill reported.

He said many people wanted him to get back in the race because they backed his policies.

“They said that they did not vote for me expecting that I was a perfect person,” Coleman, then 19, said at the time. “They told me that all of us have sinned, and we all make mistakes.”

“Voters do not throw out a 7-term incumbent for a person like myself unless they are deeply frustrated with their lack of representation and demanding a change,” Coleman, who was working as a dishwasher and attending community college, added.

“My withdrawal would immediately return to power the same corporatist, out-of-touch 7-term incumbent that voters just rejected. They did not only vote for me but they voted for my platform and for change for our community,” he said.

“We cannot undo democracy because I am a flawed individual who has made mistakes. That is not fair to those voters. They deserve to have a choice this November,” he noted further.

Frownfelter told local media he intended to run as a write-in candidate, an effort that obviously failed. He pushed back on Coleman’s characterization of him as a corporatist and an elitist.

“I just can’t believe that he continues to tell lies about what I’ve accomplished,” Frownfelter said. “I don’t understand why he’s slamming another Democrat. And I’ve never said a word about him.”

Following his second arrest, state Democrats are calling on Coleman to step down.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) noted in a statement said the young lawmaker 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, KCTV 5 noted.

Meanwhile, Kansas House Democratic leader Tom Sawyer said Coleman ought to “resign and concentrate on getting the help he badly needs,” KCUR reported.

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

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Jon Dougherty

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