Joint statement from Speaker Mattiello and Rep. Tanzi
STATE HOUSE – Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) and Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) issued the following statements today:
Statement from Speaker Nicholas Mattiello:
“I commend Representative Tanzi for coming forward and discussing this troubling issue. I know it was difficult for her and it took courage. The overwhelming majority of members of the House conduct themselves appropriately at all times. However, sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
“I support Representative Tanzi’s efforts to introduce legislation in January to create a commission to review Rhode Island’s policies on sexual harassment. Further, I will be contacting a human resources professional to provide training to House members and staff at the beginning of the next legislative session.
“I expect all Representatives and employees to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with a safe, respectful and productive workplace environment.”
Statement from Rep. Teresa Tanzi:
“I was moved by the hundreds of thousands of women who have shared their stories about sexual harassment in the workplace. Being in the public spotlight, I felt compelled to speak out to try to make a difference. This is a watershed moment, and remaining silent would only preserve the status quo.
“A very small minority of men are responsible for harassment in the workplace, and they must change. We know they will not do it on their own, so each of us bears the responsibility to speak out when we see or hear something that crosses a line. The onus is not on the person being harassed; that responsibility rests with each of us.
“Speaker Mattiello is committed to working with me and all women to ensure a better environment moving forward and I commend him for that. He has asked me to chair a commission studying the issue of workplace harassment and assault, and I am grateful that he will also be providing training on this issue at the State House. The only way to stop this is for all of us to work together. I know this will not be changed in a day, or even a year, but the willingness of the House leadership to tackle this head-on gives me confidence that the chance I took in disclosing my experiences will result in significant change.”
For more information, contact:
Larry Berman, Communications Director for the Office of the Speaker
State House Room 331A
Providence, RI 02903