Patty Murray leads women’s push for lasting change in handling sexual harassment on Capitol Hill

Patty Murray, D-Wash., won a U.S. Senate seat after incumbent Brock Adams’ sexual harassment scandal 25 years ago. Now Murray and other lawmakers are working to see that the Capitol Hill culture actually changes more now than it did then.

WASHINGTON — Patty Murray, D-Wash., leapt onto the national stage 25 years ago by challenging a fellow Democrat in the wake of the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee’s handling of sexual harassment charges during Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

After the incumbent abandoned the Senate race amid his own sexual-misconduct scandal, Murray rode to victory in 1992 along with a record number of women in Congress.

On Wednesday, Murray helped lead the denunciation of Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., declaring that his “persistent pattern” of alleged groping of women made him unfit for office. She made an-all-too-familiar plea for politicians to live up to their words.

“Our history, our culture is changing so dramatically in this country, so fast,” Murray told reporters Wednesday. “And I think it is a time for elected officials, at all levels, to stand up and take responsibility for who we are and what we stand for.”

For Murray and other lawmakers, the question now is whether, a quarter century after the first great reckoning of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, the culture will actually change more than it did then.

Allegations of sexual misconduct

Since The New York Times published allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in October, multiple men in Hollywood, politics and media have faced allegations ranging from sexual misconduct to rape. Here’s a list of some of the people who have been accused.

How have sexual harassment and the #MeToo conversation affected you?

We want to hear your thoughts. Whether you work in tech, government, media, finance, the arts or another field, has sexual harassment or sexism…

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