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Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement calling for more actions to put an end to the culture of misogyny, harassment and assault that has fostered abusive behavior during the Chamber of Commerce’s “Walk to Washington” and the League of Municipalities’ convention in Atlantic City:
“For too long, the Chamber’s ‘Walk to Washington’ and the League’s annual convention have been marred by the harassment and abuse of women and recent reports show that this behavior continues. I can’t in good conscience continue to participate in the business as usual that allows this hostile environment to persist at these events until more decisive actions are taken to change the culture.
“I will no longer participate in the train ride to Washington or the nighttime ‘parties’ at either event until more progress has been achieved to bring an end to the toxic environment at these gatherings. The steps announced by the Chamber are not enough to bring systemic change to the pervasive culture of misogyny in New Jersey politics.
“In order to create forums where members of the Chamber and the League can have positive discussions with legislators in an environment that is safe and respectful for women, I will have existing Senate committees conduct open meetings where their issues can be heard. This will take the interactions and discussions out of the dark rooms and crowded trains and put them in public places that are open and safe.
“This is a deeply-rooted problem that is not unique to these events or to New Jersey politics. But we have to make every effort to bring about a change in culture that does not allow abusive behavior and that treats women with respect.”