Commentary: Want To Discuss Sexual Harassment? Bring Women

Dec 18, 2017

Georgia politicians may finally be taking sexual harassment seriously. But one gubernatorial candidate says women are missing from the conversation. Last week, former state representative Stacey Evans called out Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle for excluding women from a new committee on sexual harassment. She brings us a commentary (find the full transcript below).

The Lieutenant Governor's office provided this full statement in response to Stacey Evan's criticisms:

“Last week, Speaker Ralston and I announced a bipartisan review by the Legislative Services Committee of the General Assembly’s workplace policies, which will bring in an outside employment attorney to ensure that our legislative chambers are upholding the highest standards for our members and employees. I am unequivocally committed to ensuring that all members and staff of the General Assembly are held to the highest standards and to upholding a zero tolerance policy for any workplace misconduct. 

“A Google search for ‘Georgia Legislative Services Committee’ will quickly lead any internet user to O.C.G.A. 28-4-1. That law spells out the members of the committee. The speaker then appointed those members. As a millionaire trial attorney, Stacey Evans should know better.

“We’re working to make sure that every person who works at the Capitol is safe and treated with respect. I’m not going to get distracted by a sideshow created by someone looking for attention for her campaign.”

Stacey Evan's full commentary transcribed:

"The Georgia General Assembly--the group of people down at the state capitol making the laws for you and me--wants you to know that they take the threat of sexual harassment seriously. Not a threat to you and me, you understand, the threat to them."

"Sexual harassment is a problem and it's been a problem for women for a long time. It's just recently become a problem for the men too. That's why when they convened a committee to review internal rules on sexual harassment under the gold dome it was welcome news. Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle was responsible for staffing half the members and he declined to include even a single woman on the panel. Now they say that's because of some obscure statute but creating a panel on sexual harassment that excludes the people most likely to experience it. Well it sounds like an excuse to me."

"But nothing should excuse the behavior of men that abuse the power given to them by us the people they are supposed to serve. That's why we need to take that power back, because for too long we've had a government that doesn't work for all of Georgia, just for some of it. We've had enough of a system that excludes women a system that makes inappropriate comments, come-ons, or worse, the price of admission. We deserve better. And women are showing their strength. Just last week in Alabama you saw the power of women. They came out in force to shut down Roy Moore."

"But in so doing they sent a message to all politicians whose first duty is to themselves, it seems, and not the people they serve. In that movement of women which began in the women's march and continued onto the sidewalks of the 6th District and into the streets of Birmingham has found a home in everyone who is tired of the good ole boy way of doing business which seeks to shut people out instead of welcoming them in. And when the Lieutenant Governor of our state decides that there's no room for women on a committee that makes the rules on sexual harassment in our Capitol...well, it's time for a change."