An Illinois state representative would refuse to take part in mandated sexual harassment training if lawmakers are required to do so under a measure currently under consideration.
State Rep. Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) reacted to a television appearance Monday night by four fellow legislators discussing an open letter they signed alleging widespread sexual misconduct at the statehouse, reported Chicagoist.
State Sen. Heather Steans, and Reps. Chris Welch, Robyn Gabel and Sara Feigenholtz appeared on WTTW's Chicago Tonight to discuss the letter and their allegations, "ranging from daily microaggressions to acts of pure viciousness."
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) introduced a bill mandating sexual harassment training for legislators, which would also establish procedures for handling allegations of misconduct.
Reick issued a lengthy statement on his blog, saying he didn't want the training, didn't need it and resented the prospect of taking it.
"If my colleagues want me to sign on to this, they’re certainly not doing it the right way," Reick complained. "I’m not saying I’m blameless, but I’m damned sure not going to allow myself to be painted with their broad brush, nor will I subject myself to whatever 'training' is imposed. By implying that I’m part of the problem simply by occupying a seat on the House floor or through the accident of birth of having been born male, they’re giving me every reason to say 'no.'"
Reick said the only way he would consider supporting the measure was if victims publicly named their abusers.
"I have no sympathy for those who think that they’re entitled to act like boorish clods," he said. "The reason I have no use for it is that I was brought up that way, I had parents who taught me that human nature is imperfectible and it was my job to resist the baser instincts to which we’re all subject. In that regard, Senator Steans is right, training won’t be enough. Nothing will be enough until human nature bends toward androgyny."
Reick said the abusers were widely known due to statehouse "gossip," and he complained the lawmakers had cited President Donald Trump as a motivation for the recent wave of women speaking out about sexual harassment.
"I have no doubt that sexual harassment goes on in Springfield -- though I wouldn’t know a 'microagression' from a microwave," he said. "It sounds to me like a subjectively insignificant action that would be better handled with a puppy or a juice box. I have no sympathy for it, and if guys want to walk around acting like cave men with a club, count me out."