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Two senators sworn into office amid #MeToo movement

Two new senators who were sworn into office Wednesday -- Doug Jones of Alabama and Tina Smith of Minnesota -- have on...

Posted: Jan 4, 2018 7:37 AM
Updated: Jan 4, 2018 7:37 AM

Two new senators who were sworn into office Wednesday -- Doug Jones of Alabama and Tina Smith of Minnesota -- have one thing in common.

Both Democrats may owe their new place in Congress to the #MeToo movement.

Tina Smith replaces Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota

Doug Jones replaces Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama

Smith, Minnesota's lieutenant governor, replaced former Sen. Al Franken, who resigned from the Senate after confronting multiple allegations of inappropriate touching and kissing. And Jones, a former federal prosecutor who had a historic victory against Republican nominee Roy Moore, may not have been able to pull off such an unlikely win had his opponent not been accused of molesting and pursuing young women years ago.

Gloria Allred, the high-profile lawyer who represented one of Moore's accusers and a slew of other women who have made allegations against powerful men, including President Donald Trump, told CNN in a phone interview Wednesday that "there's no more business as usual when it comes to sexual harassment."

"Women speaking out had an impact on institutional change and in the court of public opinion and it has created a climate in which sexual harassment is unacceptable. And it has caused change," Allred said. "Were it not for this movement building, Al Franken would never have had to step down and I think that Roy Moore would have been elected. So it has had an impact in the halls of power."

Smith and Jones come to Washington at a moment when the nation's capital is being rocked by the #MeToo movement that has swept the country.

Following the dramatic fall of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein after multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations, women and men across the country have spoken out to share their own stories of sexual harassment and abuse, using the hashtag #MeToo. The flood of allegations has taken down, at an unprecedented pace, powerful figures in Hollywood, media and other industries and the hashtag has become shorthand for the cultural and societal reckoning sweeping the globe.

The movement appears to have arrived on Capitol Hill, too. Over the past few months, lawmakers have called for an overhaul of the way sexual harassment complaints are handled and processed on Capitol Hill, and drawn attention to what many say is a pervasive culture of sexism and coercive workplace environment in Congress.

Over the past month, multiple male lawmakers have left office after facing sexual harassment accusations -- Franken, as well as Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, and Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican.

Two additional congressmen -- Ruben Kihuen, a Nevada Democrat, and Blake Farenthold, a Texas Republican -- are currently under House Ethics Committee investigations for allegations of sexual harassment. Both have said they will not seek re-election this year, but are opting to finish out their current terms.

Franken announced last month that he would leave office after multiple women said he had inappropriately touched them. In a Senate floor speech sharing his decision to leave Congress, the Minnesota Democrat and former "Saturday Night Live" comedian said some of the allegations leveled against him were simply untrue.

"Over the last few weeks, a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions had affected them. I was shocked. I was upset," Franken said. "But in responding to their claim, I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation. Because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously."

But Franken added: "I also think it gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that in fact I haven't done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently."

Moore was accused by multiple women of having pursued them when the women were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s. One woman said she was 14 years old when Moore initiated sexual contact with her.

Throughout his campaign against Jones, Moore repeatedly and emphatically denied the accusations.

"I did not know them," Moore said days before the Alabama special election of the women who have accused him of misconduct. "I had no encounter with them. I never molested anyone, and for them to say that, I don't know why they're saying it, but it's not true."

Lawmakers had hoped to introduce bipartisan sexual harassment legislation before the end of the year, but left town after failing to come to an agreement on final language. They now hope to bring up a bill for consideration early in the new year.

Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat and one of the lawmakers leading those efforts, told CNN last week that Congress shouldn't be allowed "to operate in a manner that protects the harasser and not the victim. This will change all of that."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110592

Reported Deaths: 3171
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7731171
DeSoto655177
Harrison478481
Jackson429178
Rankin380086
Madison371092
Lee339279
Forrest292777
Jones281682
Washington250697
Lafayette241342
Lauderdale2329130
Lamar212038
Bolivar197775
Oktibbeha194154
Neshoba1795111
Lowndes173662
Panola164736
Leflore158786
Sunflower156749
Warren151854
Monroe143672
Pontotoc143019
Pike135555
Lincoln133954
Copiah133336
Marshall130026
Coahoma122836
Scott122729
Grenada119637
Simpson117648
Yazoo116933
Union113825
Holmes113060
Tate112339
Leake111839
Itawamba108724
Pearl River107456
Adams104042
Prentiss100919
Wayne97921
Alcorn94412
George93217
Marion92642
Covington90825
Tippah84820
Newton84227
Chickasaw81724
Tallahatchie81725
Winston81421
Tishomingo78640
Hancock76527
Attala76325
Clarke70948
Clay66621
Jasper66016
Walthall63427
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith57716
Claiborne53016
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence48914
Yalobusha47914
Perry47522
Carroll45812
Greene44717
Stone44614
Amite41513
Quitman4096
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39311
Webster36313
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31615
Benton3004
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26210
Franklin2283
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 152272

Reported Deaths: 2621
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22300372
Mobile14273314
Tuscaloosa9886132
Montgomery9615196
Madison895192
Shelby700260
Lee643066
Baldwin636967
Marshall425348
Calhoun408459
Etowah399149
Morgan393232
Houston362332
DeKalb313326
Elmore308152
St. Clair276742
Limestone268327
Walker264192
Talladega253634
Cullman223923
Lauderdale204340
Autauga198928
Franklin198131
Jackson197914
Russell18993
Colbert188927
Dallas184527
Blount182723
Chilton178731
Escambia170328
Covington164429
Coffee16299
Dale161551
Pike130112
Tallapoosa126986
Chambers126643
Clarke126116
Marion103929
Butler99640
Barbour9819
Marengo96421
Winston88613
Geneva8297
Pickens79317
Randolph79314
Lawrence78830
Bibb78513
Hale73729
Cherokee71414
Clay70312
Lowndes69827
Bullock63417
Henry6286
Monroe6259
Washington62012
Crenshaw58830
Perry5796
Conecuh55413
Wilcox55412
Fayette54012
Macon52819
Cleburne5207
Sumter46421
Lamar4555
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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