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Hardwick Committeeman James Perry.

League of Municipalities backs legislative push to combat toxic environment for women

By Nikita Biryukov, December 31 2019 11:52 am

The NJ League of Municipalities is joining a push by lawmakers to combat sexual harassment and assault in New Jersey politics.

“Nobody should be fearful of harassment, assault, or retribution most especially when working in the governmental setting,” the League’s leadership said in a statement. “Local government must call out this unacceptable behavior and subject it to consequences. Anyone suffering such behavior must have meaningful access to help and support.”

An NJ Advance Media report released over the weekend said women working in politics here are still subjected to sexual harassment and assault.

The specifically cited parties held during the League’s annual conference as a hotbed for such activity.

“We at the League of Municipalities cannot allow this moment to pass without recognizing this problem and responding with a sustained effort to identify where problems exist and exploring remedies we, along with our partners, can bring to the issue,” the League said.

League President James Perry, Vice President Janice Kovach, 2nd vice president William Chegwiden and 3rd Vice President Sue Howard attached their names to the organization’s response.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg announced the creation of an ad hoc committee to address a toxic culture in New Jersey politics.

She said representatives to the League and the NJ Chamber of Commerce would be invited before the committee.

The Chamber of Commerce’s annual Walk to Washington was also cited as host to harassment and other predatory behavior.

“To start our effort the League of Municipalities (NJLM), representing New Jersey’s local governments, is engaging with the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault along with State agencies and legislators to develop a clear understanding of where we can be most impactful,” the League representatives said. “Invitations have gone out to local government groups to join us. Local government can be a vocal witness to help spread the word and to call out those who engage in unacceptable behavior.”

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