ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska lawmaker is calling for a fellow Republican colleague to resign her post as chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, claiming she failed to investigate a sexual harassment complaint from a legislative aide.
State Rep. Tammie Wilson, a Republican from North Pole, said state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux should have known about a letter sent to House leaders in March and protected the staffer who claimed that former state Rep. Dean Westlake had improperly touched her and made inappropriate comments about her, KTUU-TV reported.
Westlake resigned last month after several women accused him of sexual misconduct. In the Democratic lawmaker’s resignation letter, he thanked the women who came forward and apologized “for the pain I have caused.”
In a prepared statement, LeDoux, of Anchorage, said she will not resign from the House leadership position and the mandatory training on harassment will go forward.
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“I strongly support the effort to update the harassment policy of the Alaska Legislature, but without the proper training to prevent harassment, it is a waste of time,” LeDoux said. “Despite Rep. Wilson’s objection, every member of the House and their staff will be required to undergo training. Under my watch, harassment will not be tolerated in the Alaska Legislature.”
Wilson has said she wouldn’t attend the training unless the issues surrounding the complaint against Westlake are fully investigated. LeDoux has threatened that lawmakers who don’t comply will lose their staff.
“Do they need training at the leadership to know that if you get a complaint, you don’t stick (it) in a drawer and pretend it didn’t happen?” Wilson said.
Wilson said the issue is about protecting staff — not pushing a political agenda.
“This is not an issue that should be politicized, but that’s exactly what Rep. Wilson is doing,” LeDoux said.
Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com