Ugaste says Democratic leadership hasn't really looked into sexual harassment allegations
GOP state House candidate Dan Ugaste doesn’t see how House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) can be blameless in the sexual harassment scandal that is now threatening his political empire.
“How does any of this exist if the people at the top don’t tolerate it?” Ugaste told the Kane County Reporter. “I can’t see how a problem like this could fester, especially in an organization like this where the leadership leads as tightly as this speaker does.”
Madigan's former chief of staff, Tim Mapes, recently became the latest top Madigan staffer to be ensnared in the controversy when fellow staffer Sherri Garrett recently stepped forward to accuse him of sexual harassment and bullying, which led to his ouster.
Mapes is now the fourth high-ranking member of Madigan’s operation, including his No. 2 man in Springfield, Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), to be hit with such allegations.
“It amazes me that this kind of thing never seems to end and that the culture in Springfield is such a huge problem,” said Ugaste, a Geneva Republican who is running against Democrat Richard Johnson to replace retiring Rep. Steve Andersson (R-Geneva) in the 65th District. “It seems [that] the longer time goes on and certain people stay in power, the more comes out about all these lingering problems. People are tired of what’s going on, and many of them are getting the courage to speak out.”
Since the latest controversy went public, Madigan has announced that he has commissioned an all-female search committee to choose Mapes’ replacement as executive director of the state's Democratic Party. Among the group of 18 is state Rep. Juliana Stratton (D-Chicago), who is Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker’s running mate.
“I don’t think were at the end,” Ugaste added. “[The] leadership keeps saying [that] they will look into this, but they really haven’t. I think Republicans would be wise to push for control on the promise that we will be fair in our treatment of the people of this state.”
The 65th House District includes Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, Pingree Grove, Hampshire and Huntley.