Speakers at a press conference today in front of the Roundhouse call on the Legislature to ‘stop protecting Daniel Ivey-Soto and start protecting women’. Courtesy/Center for Civic Policy
Center for Civic Policy News:
SANTA FE — Today, women and advocates held a press conference in front of the state Capitol building to demand accountability for State Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, who has been credibly accused by multiple women of sexual harassment, bullying and abuse.
Recently, the special counsel hired by the legislature to investigate the allegations against Ivey-Soto found that there was “credible evidence” and sufficient probable cause that Ivey-Soto had violated Roundhouse policy.
However, a secretive four-member ethics panel consisting of Ivey-Soto’s colleagues seemingly decided not to move forward with the disciplinary process anyway. It is unclear what the panel’s reasoning or motivations for disregarding the special counsel’s report are, given the secrecy of the process.
Today’s press conference took place just hours before a meeting of the Legislative Council Committee, during which the legislature’s anti-harassment policy and investigatory process were planned to be discussed.
Several of the attendees at today’s press conference wore brightly colored “safety vests” highlighting the danger that women presently face at the Roundhouse. Further, they held signs that read “Ivey-Soto Has Got to Go” and “Make the Roundhouse Safe”.
The speakers made clear that while they appreciate that Senate President Pro Tempore has stripped Ivey-Soto of his interim committee chairmanship and recommended that he lose his Rules Committee chairmanship, those actions are not sufficient. The advocates also highlighted the need to fix the current, broken process for handling abuse and harassment at the Roundhouse.
“Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto is dangerous,” said Lan Sena, policy director of the Center for Civic Policy. “We cannot count on the legislature to keep us safe while he remains in the Senate. His dangerous behavior has been left unchecked for far too long. He should not be allowed to be in this building.”
“The current system for reporting abuse at the Roundhouse and the recourse for victims does not work,” Sena added. “The current system only supports the perpetrators. As written, the current system puts all recourse decisions in the hands of colleagues of the perpetrators. This is a classic case of the fox guarding the henhouse.”
“We need lawmakers to update the state ethics commission oversight to include harassment and bullying,” Sena said. “We need a transparent system that is not convoluted for reporting abuse and seeking recourse that will hold perpetrators accountable. As it currently stands, we have no faith in this legislature to protect its own members, the spouses of its members, lobbyists, advocates, and the public.”
“OLÉ reaffirms our call for Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto to resign his seat in the state senate,” said Andrea Serrano, executive director of OLÉ (Organizers in the Land of Enchantment). “We call on the senate leadership to take action and remove Senator Ivey-Soto from any leadership roles. Further we call on lawmakers to update the current reporting process, as it only serves to protect legislators and further traumatize survivors. It is clear that this system of reporting is broken.”
“I am standing here with my colleagues today to call for the expulsion of Senator Daniel Ivey Soto from the legislature because he continues to make this environment unsafe,” said Marshall Martinez, executive director of Equality New Mexico. “The history of abuse that has been laid out by multiple women, cannot go unchecked. The system of legislators policing their peers, a convoluted process for complaints, investigations, and outcomes wrapped in secrecy cannot continue to be the standard. It is beyond time to change this process, and beyond time for Senator Ivey-Soto to be expelled from the legislature.”
“The Roundhouse is the people’s house, and everyone should feel welcome and safe when visiting here,” said Monet Silva, associate director at Common Cause New Mexico. “The current system and process for victims of sexual harassment to file charges is not transparent or equitable. The system is broken and it needs to be fixed.”