Rep. Nico Rios releases statement following actions during DUI arrest

Rep. Nico Rios | Photo provided by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly
Rep. Nico Rios | Photo provided by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly

(Williston, ND) -- A North Dakota legislator facing criticism and a call to resign from North Dakota House Leader Mike Lefor and state Republican Party officials is speaking out for the first time since his arrest, in which he made comments which were described by law enforcement as “verbally abusive, homophobic, racially abusive and discriminatory.” Rios also attempted to use his position as a state lawmaker to intimidate police and avoid an arrest.

"First, I accept full responsibility for my disgusting actions on December 15th. There are no excuses. I apologize to those I have hurt and disappointed with my shameful actions. North Dakotans expect and deserve better from me as an elected official and member of the Williston community. I apologize to our law enforcement community who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Last, but certainly not least I want to apologize to those who have lost loved ones to drunk drivers. The recklessness of my actions represents an unacceptable insensitivity to the pain you all live with every day," Rios said in a statement emailed to WDAY Radio.

He said he is taking time to make a decision regarding his legislative future.

"Given the gravity of the situation, I completely understand why some people want me to step aside. These calls have not gone unheard. I am seriously mulling all aspects of my future," Rios said. "As I weigh my future in the legislature, I am going to spend the next few months addressing my issues with alcoholism and getting the help I need. Any decision I make going forward will be made with a sober mind and deliberative clarity. To do so, I will be prioritizing breaking my chemical dependency on alcohol, improving the interpersonal relations I have strained, and listening to our community."

Rios said the incident has impacted his life -- calling it a "wake-up call"

"I am 100% committed to making repairs for my actions and straightening out my life," he said. "This unfortunate episode was a wake-up call for me, I cannot win this battle against addiction alone. However, with prayer, family, and friends I do believe I will make the changes needed."