Politics 100 Percent Class
posted by October 29 at 14:29 PMon
When pressed on the issue, [Republican lands commissioner Douglas Sutherland] displayed a flash of what got him in trouble in 2005, when he rubbed a female employee from her neck to her back moments after meeting her and then either said before a group of colleagues that he “could have felt … up front” or “could have felt the other side.” The woman later quit her job in a move Sutherland has conceded was likely caused by the incident, for which he apologized.
Speaking to a female reporter about forest certification, Sutherland made an unprompted analogy, “You have to do things in logical sequence: you wouldn’t put your coat on to go outside, then put your underwear on. Well, I don’t know what you do with your underwear.” He laughed.
You’d think that after sexually harassing a young female employee and intimidating her out of a job, Sutherland would’ve learned to keep his mouth shut, especially around reporters. And while Sutherland’s performance as lands commissioner may be unaffected by the fact that he likes to feel up female employees, Sutherland has crossed the line between flirtatious good-ol’-boy and grabby sleaze too many times to call these isolated incidents.
A side note: In looking up stories about Sutherland for this post, I stumbled across this August 2000 P-I article about Democrat Mike Lowry, a former governor who was charged with sexual harassment, charges he settled for $97,000. The reporter quoted Cathy Allen, a local political consultant and founder of the Northwest Women’s Political Caucus, saying that her group could not endorse someone who had sexually harassed a female employee. “The shadow of his past hangs heavy,” she said. Allen was so offended by Lowry’s actions that she said she’d rather endorse his Republican opponent—a Pierce County politician named Doug Sutherland, who may have been a Republican, but at least hadn’t harassed anybody. My, how times have changed.