Kay says Democrats' reluctancy to address sexual harassment is 'disturbing'
Republican state House candidate Dwight Kay can’t conceive of a scenario where longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) couldn’t have known how Chief of Staff Tim Mapes allegedly ran his operation.
“Tim Mapes has been close to Mike Madigan for several decades,” Kay told the Metro East Sun. “...My experience tells me [that] what one knew, the other one knew. To think that Madigan didn’t know what was going on in his own office and organization, in my mind, seems ludicrous. I don’t think anything that happens inside that organization comes as a shock to Mike Madigan.”
The questions surrounding what Madigan knew have hit new levels in the wake of Mapes recently being forced to step down after fellow Madigan staffer Sherri Garrett came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment and bullying.
Mapes is now the fourth high-ranking member of Madigan’s operation to be hit with such allegations, including Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), his No. 2 man in Springfield.
“It’s disturbing to see how one of the two parties has been so reluctant to step forward and address [the] issue of harassment,” said Kay, who is running against Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) in the 112th District. “I find it interesting that we kind of have a system in Illinois where once we hear of something like this happening, the first thing we do is move to fire the person that’s being accused. That’s not a policy, and in Springfield, we have a culture that desperately needs to be fixed.”
Since the latest controversy went public, Madigan has announced that he has commissioned an all-female search committee to choose Mapes’ replacement as executive director of the state's Democratic Party. Among the group of 18 is state Rep. Juliana Stratton (D-Chicago), who is Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker’s running mate.
“This is a serious embarrassment to Madigan, and I believe there’s more coming,” Kay said. “In an election year, the last thing a party wants or needs is an embarrassment, especially one of this magnitude. This is [a] serious matter, where there are multiple claims. I’ve always felt [that] leadership starts at the top, and for all [of] this, the buck has to stop with Mike Madigan.”