Open Letter: Constituents Troubled by Accounts of Del. Anderson’s Misconduct

An Open Letter to House Speaker Busch and Senate President Miller: We are 66 women and genderqueer people who live in Maryland’s 43rd legislative district, which has been represented by Del. Curtis S. Anderson (D) since 2002. Many of us have experienced workplace sexual harassment and its consequences, including public and private humiliation, diminished self-esteem, reduced productivity and loss of opportunity for professional advancement. We are deeply concerned by reports that Del. Anderson has, for decades, sexually harassed and possibly even assaulted his colleagues and subordinates in Annapolis. Last month, after early voting in the Maryland primary was already underway, The Baltimore Sun reported that the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics has been investigating Del. Anderson for months. The committee has been looking into numerous reports of sexual misconduct by Del. Anderson, including allegations that he assaulted a former staffer and harassed fellow legislators on the House floor. The detailed allegations include accounts from sitting legislators, and several of the incidents are corroborated by witnesses. We believe these women. When the Sun broke this story June 15, Del. Anderson was one of eight Democratic candidates running for three House seats in the 43rd District. The unfortunate timing of the report ensured that hundreds of voters cast ballots – many of them for Del. Anderson – entirely unaware that he was under investigation for multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. And because the committee has yet to conclude its work or issue a public report, every single one of us voted without access to critical information about whether Del. Anderson engaged in conduct that, in our view, would disqualify him from office. Nevertheless, the results of June’s primary strongly suggest that voters were troubled by accounts of Del. Anderson’s misconduct. During early voting, which began before the Sun revealed the General Assembly’s investigation into Del. Anderson’s behavior, Del. Anderson received the second highest number of votes for delegate, over 1,000 more than the fourth-place finisher. But during Election Day voting, nearly two weeks after the Sun’s report was published, Del. Anderson finished in fourth place.  Del. Curtis S. Anderson Ultimately, the sizable lead he amassed during early voting proved insurmountable, and Del. Anderson finished in third place, all but guaranteeing his reelection in November if he chooses to accept his party’s nomination. Notably, Del. Anderson’s margin of victory over the fourth-place finisher (431 votes) was smaller than the number of ballots cast by voters in the 43rd District on the first day of early voting alone (832 votes). Had voters been informed of the allegations against Del. Anderson just a few days earlier, the outcome of the election might have been different. There are many powerful figures in Maryland’s General Assembly who could and should have spoken out about the allegations against and investigation into Del. Anderson long before primary voting started. Fortunately, there is still time for Democratic leadership in the General Assembly to rectify some of their mistakes. Speaker Busch and Senate President Miller, we call on you to ensure that the ethics investigation is completed as expeditiously as possible and that its findings – either clearing Del. Anderson of wrongdoing or detailing his misconduct – are immediately released to the public. If the investigation reveals evidence of sexual misconduct, you must demand that Del. Anderson resign at once and decline his party’s nomination before Aug. 28, in time for the Democratic Central Committee to replace him on the ballot. In the #MeToo era, it is tempting to imagine a future in which powerful men are swiftly brought to justice for their abuses. This November, we would settle for an opportunity to cast our ballots for the Democratic ticket without wondering whether we are voting for a serial abuser.
Abby Becker
Abby Markoe
Aimee Harmon-Darrow
Alexandra Neuhaus-Follini
Amanda Olmstead
Amanda White
Amber Beitelshees
Betty G. Robinson
Caitlin Anderson
Carol Rice
Catherine Kelly
Chauna Brocht
Claire Schreiber
Elaine Crawford
Elizabeth H. Hill
Emilie Pichot
Erica L. Brown
Gabrielle Ellenberger
Hannah M. Rowley
Helen Langa
Jackie Warfield
Jane Sundius
Jean Zachariasiewicz
Jen Kirby
Jenna Werner
Jenny Egan
Jessie Weber
Jevne Diaz
Jodie Zisow-McClain
Julia Hammid
Karen McGill Lawson
Kathy Sacco
Katie Leonard
Kenne Dibner
Kiara Eldred
Kimberly Wiman
Kris Missage
Laura Yoder
Lindsay Kahn
Lisa Simeone
Liz Zogby
Lorie Benning
Lucia Perfetti-Clark
M. Wiessner
Mary Kambic
Mary Jo Kirschman
Mary T. Matheny
Maura Dwyer
Meredith Chaiken
Michelle Green Clark
Nancy Eddy
Nicole McCann
Rebecca C. Starr
Rianna M. Eckel
Robi Rawl
Salli Ward
Sara Zisow-McClean
Sarah Templin
Shana Bocsak
Sue Fothergill
Sue Hilger
Susan Oppenheimer
Susan Talbott
Tamar Mendelson
Taylor Smith-Hams
Tracy LaBonte

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