03.08.18

Daines Plans Hearing to Combat Sexual Harassment in Forest Service

                   Strong leadership is needed to remove bad actors, culture change starts at the top                                          

U.S. SENATE - U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced plans for a hearing on combatting sexual harassment in the U.S. Forest Service in response to the resignation of U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke, amid sexual misconduct allegations in the agency.

“I am distraught and angered that this happened in Montanans’ own backyard. That’s why I am planning a Senate hearing,” said Daines. “Strong leaders are needed to change the culture of the organization and I believe Mr. Tooke’s resignation was the right decision. I plan to use every tool to ensure all bad actors are held accountable.”

A recent investigation aired on the PBS NewsHour, found at least two incidents of sexual harassment in Montana within the U.S. Forest Service. Read more about the investigation, HERE.

Daines is Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry, and Natural Resources; a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, all of which combined have jurisdiction over land management agencies and harassment in the federal workforce. 

Background:

On March 1, 2018, during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, Daines urged the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to take steps to expedite the termination process for federal employees who have engaged in harassment, including sexual harassment. 

On October 13, 2017, Daines applauded steps taken by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to create an action plan to combat the widespread and pervasive culture of harassment and discrimination throughout the National Park Service (NPS).

On June 7, 2017, Daines addressed improving the workplace in National Parks as it relates to sexual harassment while chairing his first U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on National Parks hearing.

 

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