R.I. state rep says higher-ranking lawmaker told her sexual favors would get bills passed

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WHDH) — A Rhode Island state representative said a higher-ranking lawmaker at the Rhode Island State House sexually harassed her.

Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-South Kingstown) said she was inspired to speak up after seeing women come forward to share their allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Tanzi said an unnamed lawmaker told her that if she performed sexual favors, it might help her get bills passed.

“I am a happily married woman and have not put out any signals,” Tanzi told a local newspaper. “I’m sure if that person were to be asked, as often is the case in this situation, they would say, ‘Oh, I was just joking, certainly didn’t mean it.'”

Tanzi said she did not want to name the lawmaker who said that to her. When asked why she did not come forward earlier, she said she did not feel she would be taken seriously.

“The honest truth is it was inappropriate and I pointed that out and I want to make sure that more people have the ability to be strong,” said Tanzi.

Tanzi said a federally elected official in Washington also spoke to her inappropriately. She said among other comments she was called a “pretty little thing they wanted to keep around.”

Tanzi released a statement on Thursday. Click here to read it.


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