BOSTON – On Jan. 18, state Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) was among nine senators appointed to a Committee that will review the state Senate’s sexual harassment policies and procedures, a task they have about four months to complete.
The Senate adopted an order (S.2262) to establish the committee. The order appointed Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem) as committee chair and included a May 15 deadline to report its findings and recommendations.
“We have to make it very clear that we have no tolerance for sexual harassment in the Senate and there will be strong repercussions for anyone who violates our policies,” said Senator Friedman. “We must update these policies to ensure that all Senate employees and members, as well as any individual the Senate works with never feel unsafe or feel like they can’t speak up about an incident of sexual misconduct at the State House.”
Friedman recounted hearing stories of misconduct during the time she worked as Chief of Staff to the late Senator Ken Donnelly, and has personally been a victim of harassment during her 20-year tenure as a manager in high-tech prior to working on Beacon Hill.
“Unfortunately, sexual harassment is an issue in every field of work. The #MeToo movement has shown us the magnitude of this problem and we are finally taking a stand by saying ‘no more’ to this kind of behavior in the workplace,” said Senator Friedman. “I truly believe that if you want to stop certain behaviors from happening, it needs to come from the top and that’s what we hope to accomplish in the Senate.”
Other members of the Committee include Senators Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain), Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), John Keenan (D-Quincy), Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), Don Humason (R-Westfield), and Richard Ross (R-Wrentham). Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) will serve as an ex officio member and is empowered to vote in case of a tie.
Friedman represents the 4th Middlesex district, which includes Arlington, Billerica, Burlington, Woburn and precincts 1-2 and 4-7 in Lexington.