In Rhode Island, Female Candidate for Governor Urges Lawmaker to Keep Sexual Harassment Allegations Quiet

by | October 26, 2017

By Jacqueline Tempera

House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan says she has "no knowledge" of sexist behavior at the State House and calls on Rep. Teresa Tanzi to file a report with the state police about the allegations she made to The Providence Journal.

In an interview with The Providence Journal last week, Tanzi, D-South Kingstown, said: "As a state representative ... I have been told sexual favors would allow my bills to go further."

She said the harasser was "not someone who was my equal ... it was someone who had a higher-ranking position." She has declined to name the individual involved because she said it would diminish the severity of the problems women face with a culture of sexism and harassment on Smith Hill.

Morgan, who was first elected in 2010 and has recently announced that she is running for governor, said she was surprised to hear Tanzi's allegations because that has not been her experience as a female state lawmaker. She said she thinks Tanzi should file a complaint with the state police to take away some of the "taint" her allegations have left on her colleagues.

"I don't think she should name them publicly. Not on the radio, not on television not in the newspaper," Morgan, R-West Warwick, said. "She has to file a complaint and name names."

She continued: "I think she owes it to all of her colleagues. I know she owes it to the people of Rhode Island. We need to be sure that the bills, the laws, we pass are in the best interest of the people in Rhode Island, not because a sexual favor was exchanged."

Morgan was adamant that she's never seen even subtle sexist behavior at the State House.

"I have have no knowledge of it," she said. "I know it does not happen at all in our caucus. I can't answer for the other side of the aisle."

(c)2017 The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.)