Friday, January 23, 2009

The Professionalism of Susan Lynn

If you've ever had any conversations, discussions, or dealings with Tennessee State Representative Susan Lynn, you know that she takes her job of representing her district and the people of Tennessee seriously in the extreme. Sure, one gets the impression that she really enjoys being in the Legislature, but she is also a real policy wonk with a passion for making things better. I've sat at table with Rep. Lynn, and I know from talking to her that while she enjoys the company of her friends on the Hill, she feels she is there to serve her constituents and do their work, and she pours her time and energy into that service.

When Representative Lynn wrote on her blog Wednesday that she originally didn't want word of the alleged incident in which Kent Williams is said to have sexually harassed her to become widespread, the reason shortly after the incident was because she wanted it handled internally-she knew that Leader Mumpower and her fellow Caucus members were very aware of the incident and had her back. When the harassment allegedly occurred, no one dreamed that a then-freshman legislator from Carter County was going to be placed as the Democratic tool in the House Speaker's chair two years later:

Nearly two years ago, an incident occurred which was witnessed by a few. It
has been well documented so I will not go into further detail except to say that
I sought assistance from my leadership because I did not feel that I was being
taken seriously in my request to be treated with professional courtesy.

Nearly two years ago, an incident occurred which was witnessed by a few. It
has been well documented so I will not go into further detail except to say that
I sought assistance from my leadership because I did not feel that I was being
taken seriously in my request to be treated with professional courtesy.

I spoke with Rep. Lynn and with some of the witnesses to the incident while I was at the Capitol last week. The witnesses and Rep. Lynn were happy to share their stories in the interest of verifying what had already leaked to the press, but Susan Lynn expressed a real concern that further public discussion on her part about the matter would look like she simply had sour grapes about the Speakership vote on the House floor, and that as a result she would have not been taken seriously. Further, she is genuinely uncomfortable discussing the whole affair, as would many women be when placed in such a situation.

She recounts how wider knowledge of what happened was promoted to the public:

On Sunday night the press started calling me. I refused to comment. Their
phone calls persisted all day on Monday at which time I still refused to
comment. In addition, they repeatedly contacted my leadership. In the early
evening on Monday some media informed our press secretary that they intended to
issue a public records request to our leadership for any information pertaining
to the incident. When leadership arrived at the office on Tuesday morning
members of the media were waiting with their requests for public

Until this time I was unaware that a file existed. However, in retrospect,
it does make sense that the leader would document a serious incident even if
only to safeguard his own actions. Although he has received much criticism, I
can only imagine the critique if he had refused to hand over the file.
Considering all that the Leader has been through, I think that he has been very
professional about everything.

Rep. Lynn is correct in that if Jason Mumpower had refused to hand over the memorandum, we wouldn't be hearing the end of it anytime soon.

Since the Democrats chose to install Kent Williams as Speaker of the House and thus attempt to govern the House in a way so as to nullify the recent General Assembly elections, it is completely unrealistic for anyone to believe that serious allegations about sexual harassment about the Democrats' new Speaker wouldn't come out. After all, either the House Democratic Caucus didn't know about the allegations against Williams-which would indicate that they failed to vet him-or they knew and did not care, which proves that the Democrats will tolerate anything as long as they are in control. Either way, the Democrats' political maneuvering shows Tennesseans that their primary concern is power itself, not the well-being of Tennessee or even the welfare of their colleagues in the House.

Susan Lynn has done nothing but behave in the professional and genuine fashion that she always has before. She doesn't wish to draw attention to herself, or play the sour grapes card. She is in our State House of Representatives to do her job. It is the fault of the Democrats that a man is now in control of the House who could at the least be incredibly unprofessional-and at most be a sexual harasser and exploiter. Not a member of that Caucus should be so politically naive as to think that this kind of behavior by the Speaker they installed would not come to the surface.

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At Friday, January 23, 2009 6:15:00 PM, Blogger Chris F. said...

It is not like Williams didn't know this memo didn't exist. Eventually, this will all come to pass. But for now he is learning what karma means. I mean Naifeh could have easily reprimanded him for his conduct and it would have been just that. But why all the sudden the elevation of Williams to speaker with all the Democrats in toll? Williams will simply be the puppet of the Democrats and politics as usual.

Ultimately, this reflects more on Naifeh and his paranoia than anything else. I just wish the people of his district would see the light for once.

At Monday, January 26, 2009 6:36:00 AM, Blogger Steve Mule said...

Fear and Smear! That's all this is and it's all you got. A year ago or so, apologies were made and apologies accepted. Now ... Oh, heavens to mergatrode!!
Oh, it's terrible! It's awful! It's ... it's ... LAME.
Out played, out flanked, out thought ... it's just lame FEAR & SMEAR which is all you got.



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