Raskin Joins Other Area Democratic Members of Congress in Calling for Conyers To Resign

Veteran Michigan legislator is facing sexual harassment allegations


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Jamie Raskin, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016

FILE PHOTO BY JOE ZIMMERMANN

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Takoma Park Friday joined other Montgomery County area members of Congress in publicly calling for the resignation of Michigan Rep. John Conyers—the House’s senior member who is facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment from women employed by his office.

For Raskin, the situation hits home, given his longtime ties to Conyers. As a college student more than three decades ago, Raskin interned for Conyers. Conyers endorsed Raskin in the latter’s victory in a nine-way Democratic primary for the District 8 congressional nomination last year.

“I sent a message to Mr. Conyers that he should step down at this point, that it would be better for everyone concerned for him to resign,” Raskin told Bethesda Beat in a phone interview Friday. “I know it’s a painful way for him to leave Congress after several decades of service to the country, but he has to take responsibility for the current situation.”

Raskin’s comments come amid mushrooming calls by House Democrats for the 88-year old Conyers—first elected to Congress in 1964—to leave Capitol Hill. Following a statement by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that Conyers should resign, the two legislators who represent parts of Montgomery County with Raskin—Reps. John Delaney of Potomac and John Sarbanes of Towson—followed suit Thursday afternoon in comments to The Washington Post.

Delaney, who is leaving Congress at the end of 2018 to pursue a run for the presidency, said it is “abundantly clear that Rep. Conyers repeatedly acted inappropriately” and that he should resign. Sarbanes agreed: “That would be the best thing.”

Another Washington area legislator, Rep. Don Beyer of Alexandria, also called on Conyers to resign, adding via Twitter: “Right now our country is undertaking a much-overdue reckoning with sexual harassment and assault. This has long been a serious problem, and Congress should take a leading role and help usher in change to protect victims and change our culture for the better.”

“It’s a very painful process … but I do think it’s the right thing for him to do now,” Raskin said.

Conyers is reported to be in a Detroit hospital, suffering from stress-related ailments amid the mounting calls on him to resign his seat.

Upon being sworn into Congress this past January, Raskin joined the Judiciary Committee, where Conyers was the ranking Democrat until earlier this week.

“I just hope that he will be judged like all of us in a way that takes into account the great good he has done, as well as the awful mistakes he has made,” Raskin said.

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