The situation regarding sexual harassment allegations surrounding Rep. Luke Simons (R – District 36) is the hot political topic in North Dakota. The odd thing about all of this is that none of the accusations seemed to really matter until Simons cussed out a Democratic colleague last week— after she singled him out and badgered him about not wearing a mask.
Simons immediately apologized for the remnants of his oilfield language, but it didn’t matter. Political enemies saw the event as an opportunity to release an informal file of accusations from the head of Legislative Council, John Bjornson, to the Forum’s Bastiat-Hater-in-Chief, Rob Port. And so here we are— with House Republican leadership calling on Rep. Simons to resign or face censure or expulsion.
As I wrote two days ago, if we suppose the allegations against Luke Simons are true, what does it say about House Republican leadership? In particular, Majority Leader Chet Pollert (R – District 29) and Assistant Majority Leader Scott Louser (R – District 5).
While the allegations themselves have been disputed, one thing that is indisputable from the documentation released by Bjornson is that both Pollert and Louser were aware of allegations prior to Rep. Simons dropping the F-bomb last week. Yet, they never once called for his resignation or threatened him with censure or expulsion.
Instead, they — together with Rep. Brandy Pyle (R – District 22) — suggested that Simons is “harmless”, “naïve”, “just from the ranch”, “spending too much time with cows”, “being weird”, and simply “does not know how to act around people”. That’s quite a different narrative than the one we’re suddenly getting now. (Note: Those are all quotations from the documents released by John Bjornson.)
Back to the main point though. If Simons is guilty — and all of this suddenly rises to the level of having him removed from office — then it only follows that House Republican leadership have got to go too. At the very least, they must resign their leadership positions. How could anything else be acceptable when documents show they knew about this kind of behavior all along and never once asked Rep. Simons to resign. Worse yet, in the eyes of some, they made excuses for him.
Accountability can be a nasty thing. Especially when it’s applied fairly. And from where I’m looking, you can’t say Rep. Luke Simons should go and then give a pass to leadership who knew about the alleged behavior all along.
Logic defies that.
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- Port: Grand Forks Republican says embattled lawmaker Luke Simons harassed her during first session | INFORUM
- Port: Bastiat lawmaker has shown a pattern of abusive behavior to colleagues | Grand Forks Herald
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- ND House GOP calls on Simons to resign (kfyrtv.com)
- NDGOP & House Leadership are Acting Like Democrats with Simons’ Situation – The Minuteman Blog