Assemblyman resigns amid allegations of sexual harassment

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Campaign website photo
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Campaign website photo

Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, D-Washoe, resigned Wednesday amid allegations of sexual harassment.

In a statement, Sprinkle didn’t directly own up to any claims, but only said he was “so sorry that anyone ever felt harassed or threatened by me,” and  “truly disappointed in myself for anything that I have done to discredit the legislature or the state of Nevada,”

“While that was never my intention, I am taking full responsibility for my actions and would never discredit the feelings or concerns of someone who felt wronged by me,” he said. “I will continue to seek therapy to better myself and can only ask for forgiveness from those whom I have hurt but mostly from my family who do not deserve what I have put them through. At this time, I ask the members of the press to respect my family’s privacy.”

Sprinkle, a paramedic with the Reno Fire Department, was Assembly Majority Whip and chaired the Committee on Health and Human Services. Sprinkle is best known for his proposal two years ago to allow anyone in Nevada to buy into Medicaid, legislation that some people dubbed “Sprinklecare”.

Following Sprinkle’s resignation, Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson said he’s committed “to maintaining a workplace where conduct is appropriate, respectful, and free from harassment.”

“I am deeply disappointed to learn of the behavior of a member of this body that led to his resignation, but our focus must remain on passing legislation that positively impacts all Nevadans,” Frierson said in a statement.

Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a more forceful statement, saying he was “profoundly disgusted and outraged by Mr. Sprinkle’s reported abuse and misconduct. Let me be perfectly clear: sexual harassment is never to be tolerated — especially by an elected official entrusted to serve the public. I commend the courage of those who came forward to report Mr. Sprinkle’s behavior,” Sisolak said.

In a statement, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Julia Ratti said “We condemn sexual misconduct in the strongest terms. Our caucus commends the women who came forward to shed light on Assemblyman Sprinkle’s behavior.”

Sprinkle isn’t the first legislator to face fallout following sexual harassment claims. In 2017, state Sen. Mark Manendo was forced to resign after multiple complaints and an investigation into his behavior.

Sprinkle is one of many Democrats who supported the No Means No, Ruben campaign to defeat former congressman Ruben Kihuen in his city council race. Kihuen was sanctioned by the U.S. House for sexual harassment.

Sprinkle’s resignation is the second this session — as well as the second Democrat forced to leave.

Kelvin Atkinson, the former Senate Majority Leader, who pleaded guilty to misappropriating $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use, resigned March 5.

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.

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