House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen (center), R-Snohomish, talks to reporters after a panel of the annual Associated Press Legislative Preview on Thursday at the Capitol in Olympia. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen (center), R-Snohomish, talks to reporters after a panel of the annual Associated Press Legislative Preview on Thursday at the Capitol in Olympia. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Snohomish GOP rep says he was sexually harassed at Capitol

Dan Kristiansen says it happened about a decade ago in Olympia. After he called her out, it ended.

OLYMPIA — House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen, of Snohomish, said Thursday he was sexually harassed by a woman early in his legislative career but it ended quickly when he told her to stop.

“When it took place I took care of it and nipped it in the bud immediately and there was never another incident,” he said.

Kristiansen, a Snohomish Republican, made the startling revelation as he and other legislative leaders spoke to reporters about lawmakers’ efforts to cleanse the Capitol environs of a culture in which women say they are routinely subjected to inappropriate comments and conduct.

In recent months, there have been allegations of sexual misconduct made against two former lawmakers. In November, nearly 200 women, including lawmakers, publicly called for changes in how the legislating institution deals with assertions of sexual harassment.

More recently, Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg lost his caucus leadership position amid renewed scrutiny of allegations he sexually harassed students at Central Washington University where he is a professor.

On Thursday, Kristiansen, House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, and Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, took part in a panel at the annual Associated Press preview of the upcoming legislative session.

All four said they are committed to making changes to ensure victims can feel safe in reporting harassing behavior and that those accused can be assured of due process. Employees took part in training this week and senators will next week.

“We have an opportunity to do better than we’ve done in the past,” Kristiansen said, adding moments later, “I have personally been a victim of sexual harassment on this campus. I nipped it in the bud immediately.”

After the panel ended, Kristiansen, who entered the Legislature in 2003, declined to discuss circumstances of what happened “more than 10 years ago.” He refused to say if the woman was a lawmaker, a lobbyist or a state employee. He did say the woman is no longer working on the Capitol campus.

He said he never reported what occurred but added “there were a few people who knew. I’m just telling you it happened.”

When asked why he chose to reveal the incident Thursday, he said, “Because I think often times everyone assumes it’s the women that are the victims and it’s not always the women that are the victims.”

Continuing, he said, “I have met many members down here, staff included, that have said ‘Wait a minute. Why is it I get in trouble as a man for making a compliment but what happens when a woman makes an advance or a compliment toward me, what’s the difference there?’”

Pressed about his refusal to disclose more of the circumstances and whether a lack of details might cause some to doubt him, Kristiansen responded “I really don’t care.

“If people don’t trust me enough over the years of my service here … I am just telling you that it happened,” he said. “That I nipped it in the bud and I’ve never had that issue since I’ve been here.”

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Jason Thompson (Marysville School District)
Agreed: Absent Marysville superintendent will resign in 2022

Jason Thompson, meanwhile, will not work and will be paid $21,630 per month through June 30.

A worker disassembles a fluidized bed incinerator at the Edmonds Wastewater Treatment Plant on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
In Edmonds, $26M goes to a cleaner way to get rid of poop

The city will reduce its wastewater carbon footprint by dumping an incinerator and using new technology.

Marysville man shot in hand during apparent drug robbery

At least two suspects were being sought, and police are seeking surveillance video.

Tuesday's career fair will be at Everett Community College, which incidentally is also one of the participants. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Snohomish County Career Fair set for Tuesday at EvCC

Job seekers can connect with more than 40 employers at this year’s annual event.

The Voting Commissioners of the Washington State Redistricting Commission released draft Legislative District maps Tuesday. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Early maps of legislative districts endanger some incumbents

Under one redistricting proposal, Mill Creek joins Everett. Under another, Monroe joins Wenatchee.

Driver who died in Everett car crash identified

Thomas Ogden, 43, was driving Tuesday morning on Rucker Avenue at 41st Street when another car crashed into his.

Granite Falls altercation: Dog killed, man shot in head

A 20-year-old man allegedly shot an intruder, 54, who threatened two people and killed their dog.

Arlington son, 19, charged with slaying his father

Nicholi Melum had been yelling at his son, Garner, when he was killed.

Michealob Johnson (left), 25, is accused of killing Jae An at the Food Mart in the 6900 block of Broadway in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Trial begins for man who admitted killing a mini-mart clerk

Michealob Johnson is accused of aggravated first-degree murder in the 2019 stabbing death in Everett.

Most Read