A formal investigation has been launched into allegations of sexual harassment by State Senator Jeff Kruse.
State Senator Sara Gelser filed a formal complaint alleging Kruse seuxally harassed her during several legislation sessions. 15 other women have made similar claims. Kruse denies the allegations.
Democratic Secretary of State Tobias Read has called for Kruse to resign:
“For generations, large portions of our population were explicitly excluded from equal participation in our political process and our government. In recent weeks, on both the local and national level, we have started a long overdue but necessary conversation about the numerous other ways in which power can be used to create hostile and unwelcoming workplaces and to reassert traditional hierarchies in our public sphere. Women and men from across the country are speaking up and rightfully demanding accountability.
“I have known Senator Gelser for years, and have admired her passionate advocacy for those who are oftentimes excluded or marginalized. Her accounts of Senator Kruse’s behavior are concerning and warrant investigation and action. What troubles me the most is that it is clear Senator Kruse is not interested or capable of changing his behavior even after it was previously documented and addressed by Senate Leadership. Even more disappointing is his failure to take responsibility for the impact of his behavior on Senator Gelser and other women and men who come to work in the Capitol and participate in our democratic process without the threat of harassment or abuse.
“A resignation by Senator Kruse would demonstrate that he is willing to accept responsibility and put the state and its citizens first. Most importantly, it would send a signal to Oregonians that our government is open, accessible, and respectful to everyone. It’s time for him to resign.”
Republican candidate for Governor Knute Buehler has called for Kruse to resign:
“The recent allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct and inappropriate behavior in the Oregon Capitol have elevated important conversations about workplace conduct, the role that power plays in relationships between men and women and the importance of validating women who come forward to share their stories of abuse and humiliation. What's clear is that for too long casual attitudes and unprofessional behavior has been accepted in the Capitol. This unfortunate culture knows no party affiliation and exists whether you're an elected official, staff, or lobbyist. This is a moment for change.
“I believe the multiple allegations against Sen. Kruse and I respect the courage of those who have come forward. The behavior of Sen. Kruse has no place in civil society or the workplace. This is especially true for someone who holds the people's trust and should set a higher standard of behavior. Throughout this process, Sen. Kruse has lost the personal credibility and ability to effectively serve the people of Oregon. That’s why today I called Sen. Kruse and urged him to do the right thing and immediately resign. And finally, I would also encourage the Senate President and Speaker of the House to not only work to improve the process and approach for addressing allegations of unacceptable behavior but, as important, aggressively work to change and improve the workplace culture that, regrettably, exists in our Capitol.”