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Brown, lawmakers stage walkout supporting Kavanaugh accusers

Brown, surrounded by lawmakers holding signs, said she believes the alleged victims.

By AUBREY WEIBER

Salem Reporter

Published on September 24, 2018 1:35PM

Gov. Kate Brown and House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault on the Capitol steps on Monday, Sept. 24.

Aubrey Wieber/Salem Reporter

Gov. Kate Brown and House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault on the Capitol steps on Monday, Sept. 24.


Gov. Kate Brown and House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson took to the Capitol steps Monday morning to publicly support Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, both of whom have alleged U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them years ago.

“I believe that sexual assault survivors should be heard, and particularly that there should be an investigation in this particular case, now that there has been a second allegation,” Brown said in a later interview.

Brown and Williamson were joined by dozens of lawmakers, mostly women, to take a political stance on sexual assault, as part of the greater #MeToo movement. The walkout took place on the opening day of September’s Legislative Days, where lawmakers from throughout the state convene at the Capitol to prepare for the 2019 Legislature.

The walkout was short and silent, lasting about four minutes.

On Sunday, Ramirez joined Blasey Ford in making public allegations against Kavanaugh, nominated by President Donald Trump to replace Anthony Kennedy on the high court. U.S. Senate Republicans were attempting to get Kavanaugh approved quickly so he could join the court when it opens its next session on Monday. Blasey Ford’s accusation, followed by Ramirez’s accusation, has thrown a wrench into that plan.

The two accusers are asking that the FBI investigate the allegations. Brown, surrounded by lawmakers holding signs, said she believes the alleged victims.

Brown said Kavanaugh should withdraw from consideration of the lifetime appointment.

“I think the U.S. Senate, if they decide to move forward, are doing a disservice to the American people and a disservice to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Brown said

The two accusers are asking that the FBI investigate the allegations. Brown, surrounded by lawmakers holding signs, said she believes the alleged victims.

In addition to the walkout, Brown released a video again condemning the alleged actions of Kavanaugh and calling on the U.S. Senate to allow a full investigation.

While opinions on the Kavanaugh allegations have become heavily partisan, sexual assault is not. Rep. Keith Ellison, R-Minn., is alleged to have abused his former girlfriend. Several women have accused President Bill Clinton of sexual assault or harassment.

When asked if she supports victims of alleged perpetrators regardless of political affiliation, Brown said specifics of each situation matter, referencing former Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., who she said did the right thing by vacating his seat.

“It certainly depends upon the circumstances, right? For example, Senator Franken stepped down. I think it just depends upon the circumstance, and what I think is most important is that sexual assault survivors understand that they are being heard, that there are safe places for them to go.”

Reporter Aubrey Wieber: aubrey@salemreporter.com or 503-375-1251. He is with the Oregon Capital Bureau, a collaboration of the Pamplin Media Group, EO Media Group, and Salem Reporter.



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