Denver, CO — In response to several Republicans who recently trivialized the allegations of sexual assault made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Facebook, a majority of Democrats in the General Assembly sent a letter to the Executive Committee asking that Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville attend additional training before any vote or recommendation on the development and implementation of new sexual harassment and sexual assault policies.
These Democrats found it concerning that two members who apparently believe that sexual assault and sexual harassment are laughing matters – despite attending sexual harassment trainings and witnessing the dismissal of a Republican aide for similar actions on social media – should be tasked with shaping the policies around these issues in the Capitol.
In the letter, lawmakers said “the behavior displayed by these elected officials shows blatant disregard for the emotional pain and psychological trauma that victims experience and further highlights the unnecessary harassment and potential retaliation they often endure.”
“We cannot and will not remain silent. The General Assembly has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, held mandatory trainings, and put together an interim committee to recommend new policies and processes for dealing with sexual harassment and sexual assault in the Capitol. All of this will have been done in vain if these elected officials in positions of power, no matter what trainings they do, no matter how much money we invest, or how many committee hearings we hold, are dismissive of victims,” said the lawmakers.
“All Coloradans deserve respect and should be able to work in a safe environment where their concerns are taken seriously. The word of any and all Capitol employees are worth the same regardless of their gender; however, the actions of these men, in positions of power in their respective chambers, say otherwise. As a result, we question their ability to lead on the issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Until everyone working within the People’s House understands that sexual harassment is not a joke, the Capitol will not be a work environment free of sexual violence, assault, or harassment,” the lawmakers added.
“We request that Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville participate in mandatory sexual harassment and workplace diversity training to address attitudes, biases, and behaviors that cause offense to others, especially those who file complaints regarding these issues, prior to developing or implementing new sexual harassment and sexual assault policies for the General Assembly,” the lawmakers concluded.
The full text of the letter can be found HERE.
The letter was signed by:
Senator Rhonda Fields, Senate Democratic Leader Leroy Garcia, Senator Irene Aguilar, Senator Lois Court, Senator Kerry Donovan, Senator Steve Fenberg, Senator Matt Jones, Senator Daniel Kagan, Senator John Kefalas, Senator Andy Kerr, Senator Michael Merrifield, Senator Dominick Moreno, Senator Nancy Todd, Senator Angela Williams, and Senator Rachel Zenzinger.
Majority Leader KC Becker, Representative Adrienne Benavidez, Representative Jeff Bridges, Representative Janet Buckner, Representative Jessie Danielson, Speaker Crisanta Duran, Representative Daneya Esgar, Representative Tony Exum, Sr., Representative Alec Garnett, Representative Chris Hansen, Representative Leslie Herod, Representative Edie Hooton, Representative Dominique Jackson, Representative Chris Kennedy, Representative Susan Lontine, Representative Barbara McLachlan, Representative Jovan Melton, Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet, Representative Brittany Pettersen, Representative Dylan Roberts, Representative Paul Rosenthal, Representative Joe Salazar, Representative Jonathan Singer, Representative Donald Valdez, Representative Mike Weissman, Representative Faith Winter, and Representative Dave Young.