NM Democrats to require harassment prevention training for candidates | KOB 4
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NM Democrats to require harassment prevention training for candidates

Jen French
November 20, 2017 10:12 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Democratic Party of New Mexico it will require its candidates to undergo sexual harassment prevention training.

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This comes days after U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a candidate for governor, called for Democratic State Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla to drop out of the lieutenant governor race. Padilla has come under fire for decade-old sexual harassment settlements he paid after accusations during his tenure with the City of Albuquerque.

A week ago, David Alcon, a Democrat and political consultant running for a U.S. House seat, was arrested for reportedly stalking a woman. Santa Fe police said Alcon had sent a woman threatening text messages while she attended a Halloween party. Alcon reportedly told the woman that he wanted her to give birth to his children and said he was at her apartment, but police did not find Alcon there. Alcon was booked in jail on Friday, Nov. 10

Democratic Party of New Mexico Communication Director Felicia Salazar sent KOB-TV the following statement:

The Democratic Party is and always has been a strong voice against sexual harassment, assault, and violence. It is clear that this egregious behavior plagues both sides of the political spectrum. The Democratic Party of New Mexico is taking proactive steps to combat the culture of sexual violence by developing a program that would require sexual harassment, assault, and violence prevention and awareness training for all Democratic candidates seeking State Party support.

We take all allegations seriously and anyone accused of this egregious conduct should be held accountable. We call on Senator Padilla to address this issue fully and immediately. But let's be clear, this is about more than one case -- sexual harassment, assault, and violence is a pervasive problem and are committed to promoting candidates who respect the workplace and respect women.

New Mexico Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell, is accusing the DPNM of doing too little too late in its effort to address sexual harassment.

"If there's a problem now, why did it take the Democrats 10 years for them to condemn the leader that they elected?” Ezzell said. “Why didn't they say anything then?”

KOB-TV asked the Republican Party of New Mexico if it plans to add a sexual harassment policy. Party chair Ryan Cangiolosi said new Republican candidates already go through ethical training, which includes sexual harassment training. Cangiolosi sent KOB-TV the following statement:

For several years, the Republican Party and Republican Legislative leadership have held thorough candidate trainings that make it abundantly clear that abusive behavior is completely unacceptable. We are glad that Democrats are finally catching up after a long, nationally known history of minimizing sexual abuse and dismissing victims.

The Roundhouse in Santa Fe has a sexual harassment policy. Whether they are staffers, lobbyists or lawmakers, alleged victims are asked to report inappropriate behavior to their agency or chief clerk. If they’re uncomfortable doing that, they’re asked to report any incidents to the Legislative Council Service, Legislative Education Study Committee or Legislative Finance Committee.

The Legislative Council Service tells KOB-TV that there are no recent, documented complaints of sexual harassment from the last session or from any recent session.

KOB-TV asked Ezzell if she believes capitol employees are afraid to report harassment.

"If there are issues of sexual harassment, I am totally unaware of it,” Ezzell said.

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Jen French

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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