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Local Lawmakers React to Speaker Diehl's Resignation - KOAM TV 7

Local Lawmakers React to Speaker Diehl's Resignation

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The Missouri House Speaker resigns amid a texting scandal with a college intern.

Today we have learned that the intern is from Missouri Southern State University.

The intern was not working under former House Speaker John Diehl, but with another lawmaker.

Messages made public by the Kansas City Star read, "I will have my way with you," from Diehl.

And the intern responding, "soon enough," with a kissing face emoji.

Missouri state representative Bill White says it has been a distraction,

"There is a standard relationship you're going to have in this type of scenario," White said. "We're, in effect, standing in as their professors while they're up here, and a relationship between a professor and a student would be, I think, inappropriate and therefore that would carry up here also. And then you have a difference in power position here also."

Diehl has issued an apology for his actions.

His written statement reads, "It was wrong and I am truly sorry. Too often we hear leaders say they're sorry but are unwilling to accept the consequences. I understand that, as a leader, I am responsible for my actions and I am willing to face the consequences."

State Representative Charlie Davis says his heart goes out to Diehl's family

"He did realize that the most important thing to anybody should be family," Davis said. "I believe he did make the right decision."

Davis says it not only affects his district, but the perception of the entire office.

"It does not happen all the time," Davis said. "Unfortunately, people make poor decisions and those poor decisions not only affect themselves, but they also affect family members, and others, and I think that's exactly what happened here."

MSSU abruptly canceled its internship program halfway through the semester. We reached out for further comment, but they declined to comment. Representative White says he hopes the program will continue.

"I think we'll continue to have interns," White said. "I look forward to having interns in my office. It's an educational experience and that's what it's supposed to be."

The Republican caucus will nominate its new speaker later tonight, which they hope will be confirmed on the floor tomorrow morning.

With Bill's approving federal reimbursements for Medicaid and a possible right to work veto by Republicans on the table, they hope to have a new speaker so they can finish up business before the legislative session ends tomorrow night.
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