Within an editorial that appeared on Townhall.com, gubernatorial candidate Diane Black wrote about her co-sponsorship of the Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act, a proposal that would overhaul how sexual harassment complaints are handled in Congress, as well as explicitly prohibit taxpayer funds from being used to pay settlements.
But before discussing the legislative matter at hand, she opened up about her own shocking experiences as a newly-elected state representative doing the people’s work here in Tennessee.
“I remember my first year in the Tennessee House of Representatives. It was 1998, and having spent my career as a nurse and an educator, I had a lot to learn about the legislative process. I immediately figured out that the state House had a ‘good ol’ boy’ culture – and learned about the inappropriate actions of some of my male colleagues,” she begins, continuing:
One member always seemed to manage to get on the elevator with me, and proceed to back up until I was against the wall and he was pressed against me. I learned fairly quickly to cross my arms with my elbows out so they dug into his back. Another member rarely called me by name and addressed me only as “Nurse Goodbody.” It was objectifying, disrespectful and highly inappropriate for any work setting.
In 2009, while I was Senate Caucus Chairman of the Tennessee state legislature, I called on one state senator, in my own party, to resign after learning of his affair with an intern. I firmly believe now what I believed then: as elected officials, we are public servants and must be held to the highest of standards.
This month, reports of disgusting behavior toward Congressional staff and female members of Congress have begun to emerge, some dating back decades and others more recent. We’re now experiencing a cultural shift in which women, and men, are able to come forward and hold those in powerful positions responsible for their actions after decades of intimidation and silence.
Read her entire commentary at Townhall.com