Statement from Assemblymember David Chiu on the Sacramento Bee's latest story on sexual harassment
Last Thursday, after a Sacramento Bee article describing inappropriate behavior by Senator Mendoza towards a female staffer was published, I was shocked to learn about a similar experience involving my district director, Jennifer Kwart, when she was an intern in his office in 2008.
I stand with Ms. Kwart, and trust her completely. Through our work together for over six years, I have known her to be a professional of utmost integrity. But for the statements made by Senator Mendoza concerning the first situation, Ms. Kwart would not have felt compelled to take the courageous step of speaking out publicly.
The Legislature needs to conduct a full, immediate and independent investigation of this matter, and there need to be real consequences. Coupled with recent allegations and continued denials, I have serious doubts about whether Senator Mendoza should continue to serve in public office.
While Sunday's announcement by Senate leadership to hand sexual harassment complaints to outside investigators is a step in the right direction, in light of what has been learned in recent weeks, our Legislature must take all necessary steps to end the pervasive culture of sexual harassment and abuse of power in the state Capitol. I will work closely with our leadership and the California Legislative Women's Caucus toward that end.
Assemblymember David Chiu (D–San Francisco) is the Chair of the Housing & Community Development Committee of the California State Assembly. He represents the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses eastern San Francisco.