City Council candidate Stacie Hargis just sent the following statement and asked that I post it. Here it is:
“I’m personally disgusted. No women should be spoken about in that way, even in this one incident of misjudgment. As far as being qualified to ensure the process of democracy as the job requires, I think he will perform in a professional manner.”
The quote copied above was sent to the Sun after a request regarding the appointment of Gerry Nutter to the Election Commission on Friday. After receiving additional calls from the Sun this weekend to elaborate, I’m sharing my full statement below and thank you for this opportunity.
While at the time, the vote would have been a yes or no, now, after the fact that many are lambasting anyone who would have voted in favor of Nutter’s appointment as anti-feminist, this is not a simple yes or no.
The fact is that there was one set of misogynistic comments two years ago. This was not a systemic issue or one of many misogynistic rants. It was one comment on a blog of opinion. That one lapse in judgement, that was quickly apologized for and laid to rest two years ago has less to do with his ability to ensure the process of democracy as the job requires, in a professional manner. This is why I would have reasonably made the decision to look at his credentials in order to vote in favor of his appointment.
So there is the YES. I would have voted to confirm the appointment of Gerry Nutter to the Election Commission.
However, here is the NO.
NO, you can not use a veil of feminism and anti-misogynism to hide the real issue. Clearly this is not about feminism, this is about Bernie Lynch and professional government. If the real issue was how women are talked about and treated, why aren’t we talking about the comments themselves and what we can be doing to prevent this kind of use of language? Why aren’t we talking about how these kinds of comments translate into attitudes about real women in Lowell? Why aren’t we talking about how we approach issues affecting women, such as poverty and domestic violence, which disproportionately impact women?
Instead, this topic has turned into an isolation of yes or no votes to identify candidates as anti-women and political fodder as the election nears. This is turning into the same kind of coding as “pro-manager/anti-manager”, “from Lowell, for Lowell”, or even “new Lowell/old Lowell”.
I am offended that anyone would so dangerously play with women’s issues and make anyone who would have voted in favor of Nutter out to be anti-women in any way, shape, or form. As someone who has been a feminist since I understood what the word meant and worked very hard on many issues we face, I am insulted to think that an appointment of someone who made one mistake and made amends to that mistake two years ago would equate to being guilty of not demanding and fighting for equality for women.
I am a former board member of Mass NOW, serving over three years in that capacity. I agree that the women of Lowell deserve better and we should all be offended if anyone is leveraging this experience for their own political gains. If we want to have a conversation about women’s issues, then we should talk about the fact that 67% of households in poverty are women-headed households here in Lowell. If we want to talk about women’s issues, let’s talk about the fact that only 7 women have served on the City Council since the 1960’s. Additionally, women of color have had even less representation in positions of power in Lowell. Let’s change that.
Let’s stick to the real issues – public safety, business growth, education, jobs – this is the reason why I am running. Now is the time for fresh approaches to make Lowell an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. These are the issues that are the most important priority for us, let’s not get sidetracked.
Find out more about why Stacie Hargis is running for City Council here: www.staciehargis.com.