Congresswoman DeGette speaks about being harassed in Congress

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DENVER — Congresswoman Diana DeGette says the decision to come forward now was easy, she just wishes it happened earlier.

“I was in an elevator and he just grabbed me and tried to kiss me and he pushed me away,” DeGette said, describing the alleged actions of former Rep. Bob Filner.

Filner would go onto become mayor of San Diego, resigning over similar allegations.

“If I had spoken out at the time, maybe other women wouldn’t have gone through a worse experience,” DeGette added.

DeGette says the recent headlines prompted her to come forward, she now encourages more women to do the same and name names.

“If we are going to stop people from sexually harassing women we need to call them out on it,” DeGette added.

So what would DeGette like to see change?

For starters, she encouraged the Ethics Commission to be involved, currently it is a separate commission involved.

DeGette would also like to see more transparency with the settlement process. It currently stands at $17 million since 1997 and the public does not know who was involved.

Finally, DeGette wonders do those who make accusations actually need counseling?

“It’s really inadequate to say you’ve got to go to counseling for 30 days,” DeGette said.

As for Senator Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers, two lawmakers accused of wrongdoing, she says the investigation should play out. If the allegations are true however, they should resign.

“I think members of Congress need to be held to the highest standard,” DeGette said .

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