Mendoza, Bustos and Ammons issue joint statement as their work begins

CHICAGO, IL - Today, Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and State Representative Carol Ammons issued the following joint statement regarding the sexual harassment panel they are in the process of developing:

We agreed to serve on this panel because it is clear that institutionalized systems have perpetuated sexism, sexual harassment, and inequality in our state’s political system. We thank the women who have come forward with their experiences for their bravery and courage.

“We recognize the importance and benefit to everyone when women are in positions of influential leadership and are active in all levels of our political system, from campaign staff to candidate. All women should be able to engage, achieve and excel in the workplace without fear of being excluded, harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against. It shouldn’t matter whether you work in a restaurant, a factory, a board room, a state capitol or a political campaign.

“When any woman finds herself being sexually harassed, resources should be readily available for her to seek justice and hold the perpetrators accountable. Survivors of sexual harassment must feel that their claims will be taken seriously, addressed promptly and that they can report incidents without fear of retribution. The culture of the ‘good old boy’ network is not changing fast enough and our panel will seek to accelerate the change of that culture.

“Since the hashtag MeToo caught fire in 2017, we have seen a flood of sexual harassment victims come forward. This is a problem on all levels of government and in all parties. The only significant and sustaining solution will be to change the dynamics and composition of leadership in politics.

“We have begun discussions about how to structure this panel and define its mission to include the voices of women around Illinois and make recommendations. At its core, in order for this panel to be effective in presenting legitimate findings and effective solutions, it must be completely independent. We take this responsibility seriously and, in the coming days, we will be publicly outlining the scope of the panel’s goals and our timeline after we have the opportunity to discuss the most effective path forward as a team.”