Some Lawmakers Say Apologies Are Not Enough. They Want Change.

Jan 26, 2018

Two Republican state lawmakers have issued apologies for disparaging remarks they made earlier this week at a roast for a departing employee earlier this week. But some lawmakers are demanding more than apologies. They want a change in the culture they say is prevalent in the general assembly.

Representative Bill Seitz and Senator Matt Huffman apologized for disparaging statements about some women, including current lawmakers. But Democratic Representative Nickie Antonio says she wants all lawmakers to change the “good ole boy” culture at the Statehouse.

“We’re made fun of. We become the punch line in a joke. You know, people behave like they are frat boys and Cap Square is their playground. This has to stop.”

Antonio, who plans to introduce legislation soon to deal with this issue, says lawmakers who are offended by the behavior often don’t speak up for fear of retribution.

“We should not have to be pay to play and pay with our silence.”

Earlier this week, Democratic Senator Cecil Thomas called for an investigation into the matter. Republican Rep. Candice Keller, who was mentioned in the comments told her local newspaper, the News Journal, said she was appalled and livid about them but did not file an official complaint. Lawmakers recently went through sexual harassment training.