When Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Posted by egehl on July 15, 2010
“He handled issues including abortion issues, including several other issues, but not women’s affairs”. This would be the response my Senator gave on July 7th when asked about his disgraced former aide, Brent Furer, who was arrested for attacking his girlfriend with a knife in 2008 and only recently resigned from Senator Vitter’s staff.
Let’s see, what’s happening in Louisiana this week? Just in case you can’t keep track. Well, there’s that whole oil spill disaster thing that’s still ongoing not to mention the last minute thrown together Oil Spill Commission hearing. Yesterday federal officials announced indictments against four police officers and two supervisors in the investigation surrounding the post-Katrina deaths of civilians on the New Orleans’ Danziger Bridge. And to round out the week it was revealed that Senator Vitter employed an aide on staff with a domestic violence arrest and represented the Senator on women’s issues.
Never a dull moment in these parts.
At a recent National Organization for Women’s conference in Boston, delegates approved a resolution asking the Senate to censure and expel Vitter. While the chance of that happening is slim, I certainly think Vitter should be held accountable because no public official should keep someone on the public payroll with a history of violent behavior toward women.
ABC News reported that Furer pleaded guilty in 2008 to three misdemeanors after police said he held a girlfriend against her will at knifepoint, cut her badly enough to require stitches and threatened to kill her. It was also made public that Vitter retained him on staff regardless of the arrest and ironically made him the person in charge of women’s issues. All of these revelations led to Furer’s resignation last month.
While the Senator may claim that Furer didn’t work directly on women’s issues, that is being disputed by local women’s organizations. In particular, the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence said that she met with Furer two weeks before his resignation to press support for reauthorization of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, and that he was described as the Vitter aide who handled women’s issues. In addition, a number of Washington information services also listed Furer as Vitter’s point man on women’s issues. That’s just awesome, eh?
As a female constituent of Senator Vitter it certainly doesn’t give me much confidence that the Senator has my best interests at heart if he knowingly keeps a staff person on with a domestic violence background, and puts him in charge of the very issues he was arrested for.
This is not the first time Senator Vitter has been in the spotlight for self-inflicted scandal when it comes to women. A few years ago many will remember the DC Madam case, in which Vitter’s cell number turned up several times in Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s phone records. Since then he has failed to come clean about his involvement with prostitutes in New Orleans and Washington, and evades any questioning about it.
Senator Vitter is up for re-election this November and he owes an explanation to Louisiana’s female voters. His wholesome family man act continues to get more and more tarnished and it’s long overdue for him to take issues facing women seriously.
More importantly because actions speak louder than words, he should act in a way that illustrates he respects women and this election season gives him an opportunity to do just that.