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‘He’s a Champion For Women’: 14 Female Staffers Speak Out In Defense Of Sen. Al Franken

Fourteen female staffers who worked for Sen. Al Franken are speaking out in defense of the Democratic Senator amid Sexual misconduct allegations.

In a public statement, the staffers said the Senator from Minnesota “treated them with the utmost respect” and he was “a champion for women.”

“Many of us spent years working for Senator Franken in Minnesota and Washington. In our time working for the Senator, he treated us with the utmost respect. He valued our work and our opinions and was a champion for women both in the legislation he supported and in promoting women to leadership roles in our offices,” the statement says with the women who signed it below:

Anna Henderson
Lisbeth Kaufman
Natalie Volin Lehr
Jamie Drogin Lehman
Rachel Pike Norton
Karen Saxe
Charlotte Slaiman
Bethany Snyder
Ashley White
Katherine Blauvelt
Lianne Endo
Alexandra Fetissoff
Rachel Friedlander-Holm
Jessi Held

Natalie Volin Lehr issued a separate statement:

“This isn’t the Al Franken I know. I worked for him for 7 years, several of which were focused on women’s outreach and related policy work. He is a staunch supporter of women’s rights, and I am proud to have worked for him on his campaign, in his Senate office, and on his leadership PAC. He has continued to demonstrate his commitment to empowering women through both his policy work and placement of women in leadership positions in all of his organizations.”

Alexandra Fetissoff said: “So much of what we did as a Senate office focused on trying to create workplaces for other women that reflected our own—and that all came from Senator Franken. It was a safe and supportive place where you could ask questions, grow, and learn. This environment allowed me to move from press assistant into a leadership role, like many of my female colleagues. During the six years I worked for Al, I never experienced, saw, or heard anything about the Senator treating women with anything but respect.”

Sen. Franken did something that is very wrong. But unlike Donald Trump and Roy Moore, he has taken responsibility for his action, issuing a public apology and calling for an ethics investigation into his own behavior while declaring that no victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault should be smeared for speaking out.

Let’s be clear. The actions Donald Trump or a Roy Moore do not excuse Al Franken’s. But Character matters, and character can also be seen in how a person takes responsibility for their wrongdoing.

The statements from the women who worked for Sen. Franken aren’t an attempt to exonerate him or minimize what he did, but an effort to show to testify to the character of the Senator.

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