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Sunday, April 22, 2018
HomePolitics and PolicyGabby LeDoux: Take the training, or your staff is fired

Gabby LeDoux: Take the training, or your staff is fired

Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux is mandating sexual harassment training for all legislators in the House of Representatives.

Or else.

In a letter to Rep. Tammie Wilson, Rules Chair LeDoux said that any legislator who refuses sexual harassment training will lose their staff members.

Hawkins

The training will be made mandatory through the existing ethics statute, LeDoux said. The Ethics Committee will meet next week to discuss the training measure.

But their decision makes no difference to her mandate, she said.

“Moreover, regardless of the Ethics Committee decision, as the hiring authority for session I want all legislative staff to have a safe working environment. In order to help establish this environment, all supervisors, including legislators, must be trained in harassment and discrimination prevention.

“ I would not feel comfortable in the current environment allowing any employees to work in an environment where their supervisor is not trained. Therefore, any legislator that is unwilling to attend the training will have their staff authorizations rescinded,” LeDoux wrote.

LeDoux did not address her own role, nor the role of House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, Majority Leader Chris Tuck, and Rep. Scott Kawasaki in covering up a complaint made last March by one of Kawasaki’s legislative aides.

Speaker Bryce Edgmon, Rep. Scott Kawasaki, and House Majority Leader Chris Tuck.

Olivia Garrett made the complaint in writing about Rep. Dean Westlake a year ago in March, but House leadership took no action for many months, until Garrett took the matter public in December.

[Read: Westlake’s woman problem grows]

After receiving no action on her complaint, Garrett made public her letter and said that Majority Leader Tuck had coached her on the proper wording for the complaint, which accused Westlake of inappropriately speaking to her and grabbing her butt in public.

Grabbing her butt would be a criminal offense.

[Read: Did Edgmon and Tuck conspire to cover up?]

Westlake has since resigned, effective Christmas Day, and Jan. 4 is the deadline for applicants who wish to serve out his term to get their resumes into the Democrats. The vetting of those applicants will be closely watched.

WAS IT A COVER-UP?

Presumably, the new training will hold legislators accountable for reporting incidences of sexual harassment, but at this stage, the Legislature’s harassment policy has not yet been updated, as it is still being reviewed by a special legislative task force. The training would be relying on old rules.

As a member of House leadership, LeDoux is in charge of all staff during session. Any complaints of harassment of staff would have rightfully been brought to her attention by Rep. Tuck and Speaker Edgmon. That’s one of the key jobs of the Rules chair. It appears that LeDoux may have looked the other way when sexual harassment occurred on her watch.

LeDoux, Edgmon, Tuck and Kawasaki have remained tight-lipped and have not issued an apology to the women who were harassed by Westlake after the original complaint was made.

But Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard has asked for an independent investigation into how the complaint from Olivia Garrett was handled so badly.

[Read: Sullivan-Leonard: Independent investigation needed]

LEDOUX LANGUAGE POLICE

In March, while the sexual harassment scandal was being buried, LeDoux took action on other matters. She cautioned legislators that they could not use the term “slush fund” or “bureaucrats” when discussing budget cuts. Apparently, on Ledoux’s watch, the language police were on duty last year even if the anti-harassment enforcers were in hiatus.

[Read: Censored: Republicans forbidden from saying “slush fund” on House floor]

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I first had sexual harassment and domestic violence training when I entered Jr High over 20 years ago. I am sure everyone in the legislature has had training before.

    Often, training doesn’t work because the point of training isn’t to train your staff, it is to grandstand as moral and cover your own rear.

    Also, increasing punishment and penalties just leads to more cover-ups. Gabby seems to be doing this in precisely the way that will bungle the execution but make her look like a paragon. You don’t need more training and more rules when you don’t even use the ones you already have.

    • In a word: agree

  • I have a nice certificate somewhere that says that the Alaska Police Standards Council certifies me as in instructor regarding sexual harassment issues in law enforcement. The reality is that the only reason an employer does this sort of training is to make the bad act the employee’s problem rather than the employer’s. If you’ve done the policies and the training, if you get a complaint, your defense is, “we told them not to do that.” Then your only liability is if somebody made a complaint and you didn’t do anything in response. That’s simple: if somebody gets a complaint, you just fire them. That’s the way it works in the real world. My advice is to invest in sex robots.

  • Wonder what would happen if our stalwart lobbyist-legislator team simply told Peoples House Disciplinarian LeDoux where to stuff it and continued business as usual…

    What tragedy would befall Alaska if our lobbyist-legislator team refused to take Peoples House Disciplinarian LeDoux as seriously as she apparently takes herself?

    And finally, would it not be hilarious if staff showed for up work –and worked– despite Imperial Decree(s) to the contrary?

    Such a budding revolution, our very own Alaska Spring, might just start to restore our faith in state government.

    It could happen…

  • She is a bully.

    • Then you have to decide how you’ll deal with a bully, no?

      Unless, of course, you’re a member in good standing of Alaska’s lobbyist-legislator team and wish to remain in good standing in that exclusive club, then you will do exactly what Peoples Disciplinarian LeDoux requires you to do…

  • Elections have consequences. They must like her in her district, unfortunately she is a PITA for the rest of us. I can’t stand petty tyrants.

    • Peoples Disciplinarian LeDoux wears the Royal PITA crown because Alaska’s lobbyist-legislator team, not Alaskan voters, are okay with things that way.

      A different lobbyist-legislator may bring a different perspective, no?

  • Why are we electing “law makers” who don’t know right from wrong?

    • Because they are good at Getting Money which, as you know, is the primary purpose of government…

  • “The training will be made mandatory through the existing ethics statute, LeDoux said. The Ethics Committee will meet next week to discuss the training measure.

    But their decision makes no difference to her mandate, she said.”

    What we seem to have here is the emerging tip of a tiny dictatorship that should, might we say, be aggressively pruned before more members of our beloved lobbyist-legislator team catch on to the idea that their “mandates” are equally sacrosanct.

    Let’s be practical. Ms. Gabby may not be able to leave office before delivering on a tax against productive Alaskans.

    Staying in office long enough to deliver a tax that donors want, but productive Alaskans don’t want, means Ms. Gabby may need a campaign issue which makes everybody feel safe, nobody can challenge, and most importantly, diverts attention from Ms. Gabby’s devotion to stiffing productive Alaskans with an income tax.

    Instead of demanding Ms. Gabby’s resignation, rebellious legislators might, in a fun-filled, publicly bipartisan way, effectively undermine Ms. Gabby’s “mandate” by hiring volunteer staff or converting existing staff to volunteers and paying them from legislators’ per diem, until Ms. Gabby realizes the error of her ways or quits in frustration.

    It could happen.