After Harassment Allegations, Rep. Blake Farenthold Says He Won't Seek Re-election

Republican Representative Blake Farenthold of Texas has decided to not seek re-election for his position in the upcoming 2018 elections. He is accused of sexually harassing female staff members and creating a hostile work environment, according to the Washington Post.

His office had previously settled with former communications director Lauren Greene for $84,000 in 2014 after she accused Farenthold of sexual harassment. That settlement came from taxpayer money, by the way. Other staff members have since accused him of inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

His decision to resign comes alongside a growing number of sexual harassment allegations being made against various congressmen and government officials — including recent allegations against Omar Ashmawy, the staff director of the Congressional Ethics Committee (which is in charge of investigating allegations against these government officials.) Some congress members, like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a democratic representative from California, and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Representative Steve Stivers from Ohio have condemned the behavior described in these allegations.

According to the Washington Post, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said about Farenthold: “I think he’s making the right decision to retire. I think he’s made the right decision that he’s going to be leaving Congress.”

The Post also reported that Greene’s Attorney, Les Aldernman, said Greene is “heartened by the fact that other former employees are coming forward with their accounts.”

Although Farenthold is resigning at the end of his term in 2018, his staff members will still need to work with him until then, if they choose to continue with their current positions. Farenthold has publicly apologized for his past behavior and office culture —but let’s hope there are actual changes made for the rest of his term.

And, as always, props to all the “silence-breakers." Your stories inspire other women to come forward and a culture of change.