Our society is one that indefensibly creates double standards for men and women. Women are objectified, harassed, and face gender-based violence on a daily basis. Make no mistake, this is a societal problem that must be addressed head-on at a national level. The Federal government has a duty to ensure that all citizens, regardless of gender, are treated equally.
Yet under the current administration, the rights of women to self-autonomy have faced unprecedented attack. From Congress’s proposed ban on funding for Planned Parenthood, to State legislatures attempting to unconstitutionally roll back pro-choice protections, Republican ideology is clearly getting in the way of protecting women’s health and furthering gender equality.
Standing with Women
Nearly every day, it seems there are new developments regarding sexual harassment, assault and domestic violence by the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, and Donald Trump. I've dealt with bullies like them before. I've taken them on and won. Standing up, taking responsibility, showing empathy for others, and speaking truth to power are part of who I am.
In 1982, I was working in Talbot County as a 31-year old trial lawyer when I learned that my boss, the senior partner, was sexually abusing firm clients. When confronted he flatly denied it. The firm fired him, made me a partner and contacted the victims to report the abuse.
The victims chose to not report it. They wanted their privacy – no lawsuits, no news stories, no spotlight. Their decision was personal and confidential and protected under attorney-client privilege. The abuser sued the firm and all its members, including me. He pretended the abuse had never occurred, concocted bogus claims about why he was fired and sued each of us for over $1 million dollars.
We continued to honor the autonomy of the victims and protect their privacy by not dragging them into that lawsuit. That was the right thing to do. In 1992, several victims reported the abuser. He continued to deny it and I testified against him in court. The court used my testimony to verify the abuse and disciplined him in 1993. As a result, he never practiced law again.
Three months later the Talbot County Council appointed me to become the first full-time Talbot County Attorney. I held that Office for 24 years, working with both Democratic and Republican members of the County Council to serve the people of Talbot County.
I stood with the victims when they chose their privacy because that was right. I stood with them when they came forward because that was right. When we do right – we win. Standing up, taking responsibility, showing empathy for others, and speaking truth to power are part of who I am. It’s what I’ve done throughout my career. I will continue to fight for those who struggle to make ends meet, for good jobs, for healthcare for all Americans, for our environment, for the sick and the elderly. When we stand together and fight for what’s right – we win. That’s what I’ll do for the people of the 1st District of Maryland in Congress.