AP NEWS

NJ governor ‘appalled’ by report of misconduct toward women

January 8, 2020 GMT

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration was “appalled” by details of sexual misconduct toward women in state politics after a recent news article and is seeking to participate in a legislative committee aimed at addressing the “deeply rooted culture of misogyny,” according to a letter sent by the lieutenant governor to a top lawmaker Tuesday.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver wrote to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg that both she and the governor found the behavior described in an NJ.com article published late last month to be appalling.

Oliver’s letter suggests 17 candidates to join a committee Weinberg set up to investigate the treatment of women in politics.

Citing lobbyists, campaign staffers and lawmakers, the NJ.com article said numerous women reported being subjected to misconduct, including assault.

“The serious and pervasive nature of the behavior uncovered in the story demands a serious, broad-based, and objective investigation,” Oliver wrote.

The article has led to a number of responses among officials in state politics.

In addition to the committee Weinberg is convening, the state Chamber of Commerce said it would bar “hard alcohol” and add increased security during an annual networking trip to Washington.

The trip was highlighted in the article as a place where misconduct took place. The Chamber has said it’s committed to making the trip welcoming to everyone.

Senate President Steve Sweeney said he would not participate in that event, as well as another annual meeting held by the League of Municipalities in Atlantic City, which was also focused on in the report.

Sweeney said he won’t attend the events “until more decisive actions are taken to change the culture.”

Among the panelists recommended by Oliver are the head of the biggest teachers union in the state, Marie Blistan, and first lady Tammy Murphy.

In a statement, Weinberg thanked Oliver for the letter and said she’s reviewing what steps to take next.