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GOP lawmaker refuses sexual harassment training in midst of huge statehouse scandal

An Illinois Republican is pre-emptively refusing to attend any sexual harassment training that the legislature might try to require, even though nearly 300 people who work in or with the legislature have made clear that sexual harassment and misogyny run rampant in the Illinois capitol. Steve Reick, who represents Illinois’ 63rd district, wants everyone to know […]

By Lisa Needham - November 02, 2017
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Rep Steve Reick
Illinois state Rep. Steve Reick

An Illinois Republican is pre-emptively refusing to attend any sexual harassment training that the legislature might try to require, even though nearly 300 people who work in or with the legislature have made clear that sexual harassment and misogyny run rampant in the Illinois capitol.

Steve Reick, who represents Illinois’ 63rd district, wants everyone to know that he will not stand for being required to attend any training that might address this problem. (A bill requiring sexual harassment training for legislators and lobbyists has been proposed but isn’t yet adopted.) He’s so committed to this stance that he wrote a lengthy post about it where he tries to explain his tortured logic.

He appears to believe that everyone, given a chance, will be a harasser, but he wants credit for having learned to resist the “baser instincts to which we’re all subject.” He goes on to suggest, weirdly, that until we all become androgynous, sexual harassment will continue to be a problem. That seems to be a distinctly GOP worldview: men just can’t help themselves.

He also mocks people for caring about microaggressions, saying it sounds like a “subjectively insignificant action that would be better handled with a puppy or a juice box.” Additionally, he’s pretty mad that someone pointed out that the ascendance of admitted sexual predator Donald Trump has led to a spike in women coming forward with their sexual harassment claims.

Most worrisome, he makes clear that he just does not believe women. Several hundred men and women signed the open letter that details crude jokes, unwanted advances, and constant diminishment of women. Reick doesn’t deny that happens, but he says that unless the women who have already been harmed are willing to name names, he won’t attend any trainings or support his colleagues who are working to make the Illinois legislature less toxic.

It is no surprise that Reick’s worldview is reflective of the rest of the GOP. He thinks that the Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage destroyed liberty and instead, we should let states vote on whether to extend people their fundamental civil rights. He’s also sure Obamacare destroys liberty, although he can’t really explain how. He loves “school choice” — which just means taking money away from the public schools and giving it to private and charter schools instead.

Reick is a picture perfect example of the modern GOP: opposed to progress, opposed to civil rights, but just fine with widespread sexual harassment.


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