Democratic Party County Chairs Establish Task Force to Examine Harassment Policies
Goals include awareness, prevention and procedures to affirm zero-tolerance for sexual harassment
Springfield, Illinois – With scores of national and state headlines boosting the public’s awareness of the prevalence of sexual harassment in American institutions, the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association (IDCCA) recently established an organizational task force to address the statewide group’s policies on the issue.
“No industry, individual or organization should allow the recent exposures of sexual harassment fade without self-examination,” said Doug House, President of the statewide association. “As one of the voices of the Democratic Party, we have an obligation to show our seriousness when say we have zero tolerance for harassment or intimidation.”
After initial meetings in December, the task force is setting goals to identify ways to boost awareness, provide guidance for prevention and set organizational standards to address potential incidents regarding sexual harassment. The effort seeks to have a direct impact on employees and members of the association, but will also prioritize the IDCCA’s position on cases of inappropriate conduct among Democratic candidates and public servants.
House has appointed party leaders Doris Turner of Sangamon County and Jan Occhi of Mercer County to co-chair the task force.
“The ‘Me Too’ movement is a call to action for every institution – big and small – in our country,” said Turner. “As uncomfortable as it may be, we must continue this important conversation and establish clear parameters as to where our grassroots association stands. I welcome the opportunity to be a part of this conversation and to be proactive in the task of establishing meaningful clarity for the IDCCA.”
“It’s clear that, as political parties, neither Democrats nor Republicans are immune from those who engage or are victims of sexual harassment,” said Occhi. “However, as Democrats, our intent is to take that step beyond the talk and put priorities into action.”
The task force is comprised of the following members:
Jan Occhi, Co-Chair (Mercer County)
Doris Turner, Co-Chair (Sangamon County)
Melinda Bush (State Senator, Grayslake)
Jehan Gordon-Booth (State Representative, Peoria)
Louise Cook (Stephenson County)
Doug House (Rock Island County & IDCCA President)
Tonya Loker (Wayne County)
Shirley McCombs (Menard County)
Robert Schisler (Warren County)
Linsay Swigart (Douglas County)
John Willard (Kankakee County)
IDCCA’s Task Force on Sexual Harassment intends on issuing a report and policy recommendations for their Board of Directors later this Spring.