Episode 1131 | Sexual Harassment in Politics (WARNING-SENSITIVE CONTENT)


NOW, NEW MEXICO LAWMAKERS
TOOK A NEW TRAINING ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT THIS YEAR,
AND THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF DISCUSSION IN RECENT MONTHS
ABOUT HOW TO ADDRESS SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE
ROUNDHOUSE. I SAT DOWN RECENTLY WITH TWO
WOMEN WHO EXPERIENCED SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN POLITICS.>>WOMEN ARE SPEAKING UP IN
NEW MEXICO AND AROUND THE COUNTRY ABOUT SEXUAL
HARASSMENT AT WORK. I’M JOINED BY TWO WOMEN WHO
HAVE PUBLICLY SHARED HOW MEN HAVE TREATED THEM IN THEIR
WORK IN CAMPAIGNS AND THE LEGISLATURE. VANESSA ALARID IS A LOBBYIST
AND POLITICAL CONSULTANT, AND HEATHER BREWER HAS
WORKED ON CAPITOL HILL AND IN THE ROUNDHOUSE FOR FORMER
SPEAKER BEN LUJAN. THANK YOU BOTH FOR COMING
AND TALKING ABOUT THIS ISSUE. VANESSA, LET ME START WITH
YOU. IN DECEMBER, YOU TALKED
ABOUT YOUR SITUATION IN THE NEW YORK TIMES IN AN ARTICLE
THAT GOT A LOT OF NOTORIETY THAT REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS
GARCIA ASKED FOR A SEXUAL FAVOR FOR A VOTE. CAN WE BACK UP JUST A LITTLE
BIT AND TALK ABOUT, WHAT WAS THE ATMOSPHERE THAT WENT
AROUND THAT SITUATION, AND WHAT LED UP TO THAT
SITUATION WITH MR. GARCIA?>>CERTAINLY. IN 2008, I STARTED WORKING
ON A BILL THAT I WORKED ON VERY HARD, AND
REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS GARCIA WAS THE VICE CHAIRMAN OF
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY. HE WAS VERY HELPFUL ON THE
BILL, WITH THE BILL, IN 2008 IN THE COMMITTEE AND THEN ON
THE FLOOR. HE HELPED US WITH THE FLOOR
VOTE. SO WE CONTINUED TALKING
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, AND IN 2009 HE WAS AGAIN VICE CHAIR
OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY. ON MARCH 19th, THE VOTED
FOR THE BILL IN COMMITTEE, AND AFTER THAT, OFFERED TO
HELP ME WITH MY VOTE COUNT. AS A LOBBYIST, YOU HAVE VOTE
COUNTS WHERE YOU PUT LEGISLATORS IN ONE CATEGORY,
EITHER THEY ARE COMMITTING SUPPORT OR OPPOSITION, WHICH
EITHER ONE — I MEAN, OBVIOUSLY IT’S NEVER A VOTE
UNTIL IT’S A VOTE. BUT WE CERTAINLY IDENTIFY
THOSE FOLKS. SO HE OFFERED TO HELP ME
WITH MY VOTE COUNT. THE COMMITTEE ENDED. IT WAS LATE ON THE 19th,
AND HE CAME OVER TO MY HOTEL WHERE I WAS AT. WE WERE IN THE PUBLIC AREA
DOWNSTAIRS AND JUST TALKING. HE DECIDED HE WAS HUNGRY AND
WANTED TO ORDER FOOD. THIS WAS 58 DAYS OF A 60-DAY
SESSION AT THAT POINT, SO I HAD BEEN STAYING AT THIS
HOTEL FOR 58 DAYS. THE HOTEL FOLKS SAID, WE
DON’T SERVE FOOD DOWNSTAIRS EXCEPT IN THE RESTAURANT
AREA, YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO ORDER ROOM SERVICE. WELL, I HAD AN OFFICE SUITE
WITH PUBLIC ACCESS WHERE ALL THE LOBBYISTS COULD HELP ME
OUT WITH, AND I OFFERED THAT REPRESENTATIVE GARCIA AND I
GO UP TO THE OFFICE AND ORDER FROM THERE. HE WAS CERTAINLY AMENABLE TO
THAT. WE WENT UPSTAIRS, ORDERED
THE FOOD, WENT OVER THE VOTE COUNT. ONCE THE FOOD ARRIVED, WE
REALLY STARTED DISSECTING THE VOTES AND GOING INTO
WHERE WE WERE, AND IT WAS AT THAT POINT WE HAD A
THREE-VOTE MARGIN WHERE WE WERE AHEAD, AND HE SAID, I
SEE YOU HAVE INDICATED THAT I’M IN FAVOR OF YOUR VOTE. AND I SAID, OF COURSE — IN
FAVOR OF YOUR BILL. OF COURSE, YOU JUST VOTED ON
IT. YOU VOTED ON IT THE LAST TWO
VOTES IN 2008, SO YOU VOTED ON IT THREE TIMES. OF COURSE YOU’RE IN FAVOR OF
IT. IS THIS A JOKE? SO I WAS SITTING ON THE
COUCH BY THE DESK AREA, AND HE STARTED WALKING AROUND
THE SUITE AND OPENED UP THE DOOR INTO MY BEDROOM SUITE,
AND HE WALKED THROUGH, AND I FOLLOWED HIM, AGAIN
THINKING, WHAT DO YOU MEAN? WE WERE RIGHT BY THE BED,
AND HE SAID, IF YOU (BLEEP) ME, I WILL VOTE YES AND WHIP
YOUR VOTES ON THE FLOOR. YOU HAVE THE SAME NAME AS MY
WIFE, I WON’T EVEN GET CONFUSED WHILE WE’RE
(BLEEP). IT’S BEEN A WHILE, AND IT’S
STILL VERY DIFFICULT.>>I CAN IMAGINE.>>THE VERY NEXT DAY, I TOLD
A LEGISLATOR, AND WE TALKED ABOUT WHAT MY OPTIONS WERE. AND I MADE THE DECISION TO
JUST DEAL WITH IT WHEN THE SESSION WAS OVER. I HAD A DAY AND A HALF LEFT
FOR THE SESSION. SO WE DID, AND CONTINUED
WITH LOBBYING ON THIS BILL. THE VOTE TOOK PLACE ON
MARCH 20th, LATE IN THE EVENING. I BELIEVE IT WAS AFTER
11:00. AND WHEN THE VOTE CAME UP
FOR DISCUSSION, I SAW THOMAS WAS WALKING THE FLOOR,
TALKING TO SOME OF THE MEMBERS THAT I HAD PUT IN
THE ‘YES’ COLUMN, AND LOOKING UP AT ME. CLEARLY THEY WERE TALKING
ABOUT MY VOTE, MY BILL THAT I WAS WORKING ON. THE FLOOR WAS OPEN FOR A
FINAL VOTE, HE VOTED NO. IT FAILED ON A TIE VOTE. HE TURNED AROUND, BLEW ME A
KISS, SHRUGGED HIS SHOULDERS. A FINAL INSULT. THAT’S WHAT HE DID.>>WOW. HOW DID YOU FEEL AFTER THAT
VOTE, AFTER THAT MOVE WITH THE BLOWING OF THE KISS?>>SHOCKED. DISGUSTED. I MEAN, AT THAT POINT IT
DIDN’T SINK IN FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS, AND THAT’S WHEN I
ACTUALLY TOLD MY DIRECT SUPERVISOR. THERE WERE ACTUALLY
INSTANCES WHERE I THOUGHT, WELL, COULD I HAVE JUST DONE
IT, JUST CLOSED MY EYES? WHAT AM I THINKING. ABSOLUTELY NOT, NO WAY. WHAT HE DID AND HIS ABUSE OF
POWER, IT’S NOT OKAY. IT TOOK ME QUITE SOME TIME
TO TELL SEVERAL PEOPLE, MY FAMILY, OTHER MEMBERS OF THE
LEGISLATURE. AND I HAD TO STILL DEAL WITH
THIS PERSON. HE WAS STILL A LEGISLATOR. A COUPLE OF MONTHS LATER, I
INVITED HIM TO MEET ME IN ALBUQUERQUE, AND I MET HIM
AT THE FORK RESTAURANT. IT WAS ANOTHER NAME THEN. I WAITED FOR HIM BEFORE THE
HOSTESS SAT ME. AND AS WE SAT DOWN AND THE
HOSTESS AND THE WAITRESS WENT TO GO GET WATER, I
ASKED HIM: ‘DO YOU ALWAYS TRADE SEX FOR VOTES, OR WAS
THAT JUST WITH ME?’ HE GOT UP AND WALKED OUT. THAT IS THE LAST TIME I HAVE
TALKED TO HIM, AND HE WAS A LEGISLATOR AFTER THAT.>>WOW.>>VERY LAST TIME.>>IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
PIECE, HE HAS DENIED THE ALLEGATION. HE SAID THE ALLEGATIONS WERE
FALSE. WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT HE
DENIED THAT IN THAT NEW YORK TIMES PIECE?>>I AM NOT SURPRISED. WHO WANTS TO ADMIT TO
SOMETHING SO DISGUSTING AND HEINOUS, HONESTLY. I DON’T KNOW WHY HE WOULD
THINK I WOULD MAKE THAT UP, OR WHY ANYBODY WOULD THINK I
WOULD MAKE IT UP.>>HAVE YOU SEEN HIM SINCE
OR RUN INTO HIM IN ANY CAPACITY?>>I SAW HIM YESTERDAY AND
THE DAY BEFORE AT THE LEGISLATURE.>>REALLY?>>I DID.>>WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?>>YOU KNOW, I HAD THOUGHT,
ESPECIALLY SINCE MY STORY HAS BECOME PUBLIC, I KNOW
WHAT I’M GOING TO SAY TO HIM. I’M GOING TO HIT HIM. I’M GOING TO THROW SOMETHING
AT HIM. I’M GOING TO SCREAM AT HIM. I DID NOTHING. I WAS SO IN SHOCK. I LITERALLY JUST SAT THERE
AND LET IT SOAK IN, THAT HERE IS THE MAN WHO USED AND
ABUSED HIS POWER AND KILLED TWO YEARS OF MY WORK IN ONE
NIGHT. AND THERE IS HE IS WALKING
BY ME, AND I COULDN’T SAY ANYTHING. I’M NOW GATHERED. I KNOW WHAT I’M GOING TO SAY
TO HIM WHEN I SEE HIM AGAIN. BUT IT WAS INCREDIBLY
UNCOMFORTABLE. I CAN TELL YOU, I RECEIVED
TEXT CALLS FROM PEOPLE SAYING, HE’S IN THE
BUILDING, BE AWARE, BE AWARE, BUT I’D JUST RUN INTO
HIM. BUT THANK YOU FOR WATCHING
OUT FOR ME.>>THAT’S NO WAY TO WORK,
THOUGH. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? YOU’RE THERE TO DO YOUR
BUSINESS. HEATHER, WHEN YOU HEAR THIS
STORY, I’M CURIOUS YOUR REACTION, WHEN YOU HEAR
VANESSA’S STORY. YOU KNOW, THIS ISN’T THINGS
THAT HAPPEN IN THE ROUNDHOUSE ALL TOO OFTEN, AS
WE HEAR. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?>>YOU KNOW, IT’S UPSETTING. IT’S AN INCREDIBLY UPSETTING
STORY. VANESSA HAS BEEN WORKING IN
NEW MEXICO POLITICS SINCE I’VE BEEN HERE. SHE’S A STAPLE AND SOMEONE
THAT I’VE LOOKED UP TO IN MY WORK, AND TO KNOW THAT SHE’S
GONE THROUGH SOMETHING THIS OUTRAGEOUS IS DISTURBING,
AND IT’S UPSETTING. BUT AM I SURPRISED? NO. AM I SURPRISED TO HEAR THAT
A LEGISLATOR ABUSED HIS POWER IN THAT WAY? NO, UNFORTUNATELY, I’M NOT
SURPRISED. I’M DISAPPOINTED.>>RIGHT. NOW, YOU HAVE YOUR OWN
STORY, OF COURSE, CERTAINLY. IN THE SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN,
YOU TOLD A VERY DIFFICULT TO READ STORY ABOUT YOUR OWN
SITUATION ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL. TELL US ABOUT THAT.>>SO, IT WAS JUST ABOUT 15
YEARS AGO WHEN I FIRST MOVED TO NEW MEXICO, AND I HAD
ACCEPTED MY FIRST CAMPAIGN JOB. I HAD WORKED IN D.C. FOR A
NUMBER OF YEARS DOING LOCAL COMMUNICATIONS, AND DECIDED
TO TRY A NEW LIFE, A NEW WORLD IN NEW MEXICO. AND I WAS EXCITED TO HAVE MY
FIRST CAMPAIGN JOB. I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW THE LAY
OF THE LAND, I KNEW I WAS TAKING A LITTLE BIT OF A
RISK, BUT I ACCEPTED THE JOB AND WAS EXCITED AND READY TO
GO. THAT NIGHT AT MIDNIGHT, MY
PHONE RANG, AND THIS WAS 15 YEARS AGO, SO I JUST GRABBED
THE PHONE. THERE WAS NO PICTURE THAT
POPPED UP OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. I GRABBED THE PHONE, AND IT
WAS THE CANDIDATE WHO HAD OFFERED ME THE JOB AND THAT
I HAD ACCEPTED EARLIER THAT DAY, ASKING ME TO COME OVER
TO HIS HOUSE AND HAVE SEX WITH HIM. HE WAS NOT AS VULGAR AS
THOMAS WAS, BUT IT WAS GROSSLY, GROSSLY
INAPPROPRIATE AND OUT OF LINE, AND QUITE HONESTLY,
SCARY. IT WAS MY FIRST POLITICAL
JOB IN NEW MEXICO. I DIDN’T KNOW WHO THE
POLITICAL PLAYERS WERE. I DIDN’T KNOW WHO TO TRUST. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING
ON. I SAID, NO.
AND THE NEXT DAY — KIND OF AS YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT,
YOU HAVE TO SORT OF GATHER YOUR STRENGTH. I GATHERED MY STRENGTH, WENT
INTO THE OFFICE, MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT THAT WOULD
NOT BE HAPPENING AGAIN, AND WE SORT OF WENT ON WITH
BUSINESS. BUT THERE WAS NOBODY FOR ME
TO REPORT THAT TO. THERE’S NOWHERE TO GO. YOU TELL A COUPLE OF PEOPLE,
BECAUSE YOU CAN’T — YOU CAN’T JUST KEEP IT ALL TO
YOURSELF. YOU HAVE TO TELL SOMEONE,
BECAUSE IT’S HUMILIATING. I MEAN, IT’S ABSOLUTELY
HUMILIATING. YOU’VE BUILT A CAREER,
YOU’VE BUILT A REPUTATION, WHICH FOR ME WAS STILL VERY
NEW IN NEW MEXICO, BUT I CERTAINLY WASN’T NEW TO THE
POLITICAL GAME. YOU TELL A COUPLE OF PEOPLE,
AND YOU JUST TRY AND GET BY, HAD FOR SO LONG BEEN THE WAY
THAT THIS WAS HANDLED.>>RIGHT. OR, WHAT DID I DO WRONG?>>EXACTLY.>>WHEN YOU DIDN’T DO
ANYTHING WRONG. I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG. HE DID SOMETHING WRONG.>>EXACTLY. I’M CURIOUS HOW THAT
IMPACTED YOUR WORK IN THAT CAMPAIGN. WAS THAT SOMETHING YOU COULD
JUST — LIKE YOU SAY, YOU GATHERED YOUR STRENGTH AND
YOU HAD THAT CONFRONTATION, BUT THINGS CAN’T BE THE
SAME.>>NO, OF COURSE THEY’RE
NOT. OF COURSE THEY’RE NOT.
AND IT’S THE SAME THING AS HAVING TO GO BACK TO THE
LEGISLATURE THE NEXT DAY AND JUST ACT LIKE NOTHING HAS
HAPPENED AND KEEP WORKING. I DIDN’T KNOW ANYBODY IN THE
STATE. I DIDN’T HAVE A SUPPORT
NETWORK, I DIDN’T HAVE THAT SORT OF THING, SO I JUST HAD
TO JUST KEEP BLINDLY MOVING FORWARD NOT KNOWING, WAS
THIS GOING TO BE HELD AGAINST ME, WAS I GOING TO
LOSE THE JOB, WERE THERE GOING TO BE MORE
SUGGESTIONS, WAS THERE GOING TO BE MORE INAPPROPRIATE
BEHAVIOR. WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO ABOUT
IT. AND THERE IS JUST THIS WAY,
NOT NECESSARILY TRADITIONALLY, BUT CERTAINLY
IN MY PROFESSIONAL CAREER, THAT YOU JUST HAD TO FIGURE
OUT A WAY AROUND IT. LIKE YOU JUST HAD TO FIGURE
OUT HOW TO LIVE WITH IT, HOW TO DEAL WITH IT. I HEARD A WOMAN INTERVIEWED
SEVERAL WEEKS AGO TALKING ABOUT HOW HANDLING SEXUAL
HARASSMENT ON THE JOB WAS ALMOST LIKE A JOB SKILL THAT
WE HAD TO DEVELOP. LIKE, YOU JUST FIGURED OUT
HOW TO NAVIGATE IT AND YOU MOVED ON. BUT YOU NEVER CONSIDERED —
I MEAN, I NEVER, EVER CONSIDERED, AND THIS IS
SOMEONE WHO WENT ON TO SERVE IN OTHER POLITICAL OFFICES,
I NEVER CONSIDERED SPEAKING OUT AGAINST HIM. I NEVER CONSIDERED TELLING
THAT STORY. TIMES HAVE CHANGED.>>BUT AT THE SAME TIME, AND
AGAIN, FOR THE BOTH OF YOU, WE ARE A SMALL STATE, AND
EVERYBODY SORT OF KNOWS EACH OTHER AT EVERY LEVEL UP AND
DOWN THE LADDER. SO IN MY IMAGININGS WHEN I
HEAR THESE STORIES, YOU’RE ALWAYS SORT OF CASTING
AHEAD, WE’RE ALL THINKING ABOUT OUR CAREER, THE NEXT
STEP, AND IF PERSON IS THERE AT THAT NEXT STEP, WHAT DO
YOU THEN DO? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? THAT’S A DIFFICULTY.>>IT IS VERY DIFFICULT, AND
IT’S A VERY REAL CONSIDERATION OR CALCULATION
THAT WOMEN HAVE TO MAKE IN DECIDING WHEN, HOW, AND IF
TO TELL A STORY.>>ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
I’D LIKE TO ADD INTO THAT IS, SINCE MY STORY WAS
PUBLIC, SINCE IT BECAME PUBLIC, I’VE HAD OVER 100
PEOPLE CONTACT ME, EITHER FINDING MY NUMBER ON THE
INTERNET, CALLING ME, TEXTING ME, DIRECT
MESSAGING, FACEBOOK, LinkedIn, WHATEVER MEANS
OF COMMUNICATION, TALKING ABOUT NOT ONLY WHAT DO I DO,
BUT, OKAY, THAT WAS A RIGHT OF PASSAGE. EVEN MAKING JOKES ABOUT IT,
BECAUSE IT’S JUST SO COMMON. AND THEN I’M SAYING, YOU
KNOW WHAT, IT WASN’T A RIGHT OF PASSAGE, IT WAS WRONG,
AND THANK YOU FOR SPEAKING UP AND THANK YOU FOR TALKING
ABOUT YOUR STORY. AND THE OTHER WOMEN THAT
HAVE DONE IT, AND THE MEDIA HAVE REFERENCED YOUR STORY
AS WELL, HEATHER, PEOPLE ARE FINDING A VOICE NOW, AND I
THINK THAT THESE CONVERSATIONS ARE REALLY
CHANGING THE CULTURE. AND, YES, NEW MEXICO IS A
SMALL STATE, AND THAT’S TO OUR ADVANTAGE, BECAUSE THERE
ARE LESS FEW PEOPLE THAT HAVE TO BE TAUGHT HOW TO
TREAT OTHER PEOPLE WELL AND RIGHT.>>THAT’S A GOOD WAY TO LOOK
AT IT, THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT.>>AND I DON’T THINK THAT WE
CAN ALSO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION WITHOUT TALKING
ABOUT THE RETALIATION AND THE FEAR OF RETALIATION.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>AND IN MY EXPERIENCE, THE
RETALIATION THAT I EXPERIENCED CAME NOT IN
SHARING THE STORY OF WHAT HAPPENED TO ME, BUT IN
CRITICIZING A MALE POLITICAL BLOGGER IN THE STATE FOR HIS
RESPONSE, ACTUALLY, TO YOUR STORY IN THE NEW YORK TIMES. I QUESTIONED HIM AND
CRITICIZED HIS APPROACH ON SOCIAL MEDIA, AND THE NEXT
MORNING I AWOKE TO HIS ENTIRE BLOG BEING DEDICATED
TO DEFAMING ME, MY HUSBAND, MY FRIENDS, MY FRIENDS’
HUSBANDS. I MEAN, THERE IS STILL A
CULTURE OF RETALIATION OUT THERE. I’M HAPPY TO SAY THAT PEOPLE
REALLY RALLIED BEHIND ME AND AGAINST THAT, AND PEOPLE
HAVE PULLED THEIR ADVERTISING FROM THAT BLOG,
HE’S BEEN UNINVITED FROM PUBLIC APPEARANCES. THERE IS DEFINITELY A STRONG
CONTINGENT OF INDIVIDUALS AND UNIONS AND A REALLY
INTERESTING COALITION OF PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPORTING
WOMEN WHO SPEAK OUT, BUT YOU STILL RUN THAT RISK OF
HAVING YOUR NAME PUBLICLY DRAGGED THROUGH THE MUD AND
HAVING YOUR FAMILY BROUGHT INTO IT.>>I HAVE TO CONGRATULATE
YOU, I DID READ THAT IN REAL TIME, THAT BLOG YOU’RE
TALKING ABOUT. THAT WAS A VERY VIGOROUS, TO
USE A WORD, BUT A VERY NECESSARY DISCUSSION THAT
HAD TO HAPPEN IN THAT FORMAT. LAST DECEMBER THERE WAS A
WORKING GROUP FORMED IN THE LEGISLATURE, SOME WOMEN THAT
YOU PROBABLY KNOW PERSONALLY WITH SOME OF THE MALE
LEGISLATORS TRYING TO FIGURE THIS OUT.
AND VANESSA, WHAT TO YOU WOULD BE THE BEST NEXT STEP
IN THE LEGISLATURE TO TRY TO GET THIS PROBLEM RESOLVED? WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN?>>WELL, AS YOU KNOW, THE
LEGISLATURE DID PASS A POLICY ON THE EVE OF THE
START OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, SO THE DAY RIGHT
BEFORE IT STARTED, AND AT THE SAME TIME REQUIRED ALL
LEGISLATORS TO PARTICIPATE IN A SEXUAL HARASSMENT
TRAINING. THE SECRETARY OF STATE ALSO
FOLLOWED UP, AND I BELIEVE SHE DID IT BEFORE IN HER OWN
POLICY, TO HAVE SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING AND SET
A POLICY IN PLACE. THE FACT THAT WE NOW HAVE
PROTOCOLS AND AN ESTABLISHED FRAMEWORK ON HOW WE REPORT
SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS A GREAT FIRST STEP. I DO THINK THAT THE
LEGISLATORS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO LOOK AT THIS POLICY
AND DISCUSS IT AND DISSECT IT, BECAUSE IT’S STILL NOT
PERFECT, AND IT WON’T BE FOR A WHILE, BUT IT CERTAINLY
ESTABLISHED A FRAMEWORK FOR INDIVIDUALS.>>HEATHER, FOR YOU, WHAT
WOULD BE THE BEST NEXT STEP, DO YOU THINK?>>I DO APPRECIATE THE WORK
THAT THE LEGISLATURE DID AND THE TIMELINESS IN WHICH THEY
DID IT. IT WAS VERY CLEAR, AND MADE
VERY CLEAR, THAT THEY WANTED TO HAVE A NEW UPDATED POLICY
IN PLACE BEFORE THE SESSION STARTED, AND I DO APPRECIATE
THAT, AND I THANK THEM FOR HAVING THAT CONVERSATION,
AND LISTENING TO THE FEEDBACK. THEY GOT FEEDBACK FROM THE
PUBLIC, AND THEY MADE CHANGES TO THEIR DRAFT
POLICY. MY CONCERN IS WE’VE HAD
SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICIES IN PLACE FOR 30 YEARS. EVERY BUSINESS HAS A POLICY. EVERY INSTITUTION HAS A
POLICY. THE POLICY IS LESS
MEANINGFUL TO ME THAN THE ACTUAL CULTURE CHANGE THAT
NEEDS TO COME WITH THAT POLICY. IF THE POLICY IS NOT
ENFORCED IN A WAY THAT HOLDS PERPETRATORS ACCOUNTABLE AND
PROTECTS THE VICTIMS, IT’S NOT WORTH THE PAPER IT’S
WRITTEN ON. SO I REALLY DO APPRECIATE
THE POLICY, I APPRECIATE THE EFFORT THAT WENT INTO IT,
WHAT I WANT TO SEE IS A REAL CULTURE CHANGE THAT SAYS NOT
ONLY DO WE HAVE A PIECE OF PAPER THAT EXPLAINS THAT WE
DON’T AGREE WITH THIS, BUT WE’RE ACTUALLY GOING TO ACT
ON THAT, AND WHEN ONE OF OUR OWN DOES SOMETHING THAT IS
GROSSLY INAPPROPRIATE, HE OR SHE WILL BE HELD
ACCOUNTABLE.>>ABSOLUTELY. HEATHER BREWER AND VANESSA
ALARID, THANK YOU FOR COMING IN. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT
SUBJECT. THIS IS A PART OF A
CONTINUING CONVERSATION WE’RE HAVING NATIONALLY, BUT
ALSO MORE IMPORTANTLY TO US LOCALLY HERE IN NEW MEXICO. WE APPRECIATE YOU SHARING
YOUR STORIES HERE AT NEW MEXICO InFOCUS.>>THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>WE REACHED OUT TO FORMER
REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS GARCIA FOR A STATEMENT. THE FULL STATEMENT HE
PROVIDED NEW MEXICO InFOCUS IS ONLINE, BUT
HERE IS AN EXCERPT: “ANYONE WHO TAKES THE TIME
TO LOOK INTO THE STATEMENTS MADE BY VANESSA ALARID WILL
FIND THE TRUTH SHOULD THEY CHOOSE TO LOOK AT THE FACTS
EVEN IF THE EVENTS AS PORTRAYED BY VANESSA ALARID
WERE FACTUAL. THEY FALL WELL SHORT OF ANY
TYPE OF SEXUAL ASSAULT, VIOLENCE OR HARASSMENT. HER OWN STATEMENTS THAT
CONTINUE TO CHANGE BASED ON THE MEDIA OUTLET SHE
DISCUSSES THE ALLEGATIONS WITH SHOW THERE WAS NOTHING
DONE TO MEET THE BASIC THRESHOLD OF WRONGDOING.”

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