These days politicians seem deaf to any criticism or accountability that doesn’t come from their own party. This development necessitate that each party hold their own members accountable for their actions. That isn’t happening.
As the editor in chief of the largest conservative blog in Oregon, I believe I have a moral obligation to hold Republicans accountable when I can. I know this will not be well received but I am of the belief that doing what’s right must always come before doing what is convenient.
Jeff Kruse must resign.
Things might be different if Senator Kruse had taken responsibility for his actions. He has yet to do so and it does not appear he will. Senator Jeff Kruse has sexually harassed and assaulted as many as 15 women who work in the Oregon Legislature.
I want to be absolutely clear; The identities of the women are not relevant. It doesn’t matter if they are public officials or staffers. It doesn’t matter what party they come from. It doesn’t matter if it happened 40 years ago or yesterday. It doesn’t matter if it was intentional or unintentional. And most importantly: It doesn’t matter why they came forward.
This shouldn’t happen to anyone. We as a society, we as Oregonians, and most especially we as Republicans should not tolerate this kind of behavior. I am embarrassed that most of my party continues to say nothing. I am saddened that some have even come forward to defend him.
Whenever an issue like this occurs in the political realm, the political ramifications must also be discussed. These issues are substantially less important than the damage that has been done on a human level but still must be addressed.
For all intents and purposes, Oregonians in Senate District 1 do not have a Senator. He has been stripped of the committee assignments that allow him to influence legislation. It is possible the Senate will be forced to expel him in the near future.
Kruse’s constituents are not well-served by having a powerless Senator mired in scandal. Senator Kruse stepping aside may still allow the women he hurt to heal in their personal and professional lives and will allow us to return to governing.
As someone who worked alongside Senator Kruse when I was a staffer in the legislature, I am surprised and saddened it has come to this. If he values and respects the Oregon Legislature as an institution and — more importantly — as a group made up of human beings, he should apologize to those he hurt and he should step down.
Reagan Knopp is a digital political consultant and the Editor in Chief of Oregon Catalyst.