Senator says statehouse is "boys club"

DES MOINES - A state senator is shedding more light on sexual harassment at the statehouse.

Sen. David Johnson, the only independent in the statehouse, and has been serving for years. He's a former Republican, and told Local 5 that sexual harassment has been an issue at the statehouse for years.

"It's a terrible environment," said Johnson. "I'm not involved in that myself...it's an environment that needs to change, but I don't think it's going to until we get an independent investigation as to what really happened."

The sexual harassment investigation at the statehouse was sparked by a lawsuit from a former Republican staffer. She won the lawsuit, and is getting paid $2 million of taxpayer money. After her lawsuit, the Secretary of the Senate conducted an internal investigation of the Republican Senate's sexual harassment situation. An independent counselor, Mary Kramer, was tapped to help lead the statehouse in sexual harassment issues. She's a former lawmaker herself. Johnson doesn't believe that was the right move.

"I welcome her participation, but I'm not sure it's going to be independent," said Johnson. "There has to be some change, there has to be some long-term change."

Johnson told Local 5 more details about what the statehouse environment has been like.

"Bad jokes. sexually suggestive jokes. comments on people, especially females," said Johnson. "It's definitely a men's club."

Johnson said that he wants Sen. Bill Dix, the Majority Leader who's been in charge of the internal investigation, to step down from his position.

"I do believe that the majority leader has a responsibility here, and I do believe he was aware of this situation and didn't really do anything about it until Kirsten Anderson filed her complaint....there's a set up going on there that isn't right," said Johnson.


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