Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has recently come under criticism for his handling of a sexual harassment complaint involving a political aide who allegedly gave unwanted attention to a female campaign worker.
Jason Helland, a Mazon Republican vying to become secretary of state, thinks that Madigan's approach to the harassment issue should not be tolerated.
"It's clear that Speaker Madigan was hoping this would all just be swept under the rug and go away," Helland told Prairie State Wire. "Thankfully that didn't happen. These brave women who speak up deserve to have their voices heard."
Helland believes that there is no place for sexual harassment in the workplace or anywhere else.
"Sexual harrassment cannot be tolerated in any work environment, whether it's in the state Capitol or on the campaign trail," Helland said. "The first step to combating sexual harrassment is training, demonstrating what is and what is not appropriate in the workplace, and giving individuals the tools and confidence to report any offenses they've endured or witnessed."
Helland believes Madigan and his staff should have acted swiftly and that the complaint should have been investigated and the aide terminated, but it doesn't end there.
"There is a laundry list of reasons why Speaker Madigan should resign, but this latest dereliction of duty should go straight to the top of the list," Helland said. "Women should not have to fear working in our state Capitol or participating in a political campaign."
Helland additionally claimed that Madigan is not an effective leader for the residents of Illinois.
"Clearly he can lead the Illinois Democrats to election victory, but when it comes to leading Illinois to fiscal solvency he has failed time and time again," Helland said. "When it comes to ensuring a safe and appropriate work environment for all individuals, he has shown that it's still just a good ol' boys club in Springfield."
Helland believes there are actions that can be taken to reduce and even eliminate harassment in the workplace.
"The example must be set that this type of behavior will no longer be tolerated," he said."Those found to be harassing other individuals should be terminated immediately."