Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's time to break the silence

On June 17th, I received this e-mail in response to a post on a Wordpress Blog article titled -Representative Jim Dunn, (R) WA State House - punished for remark to aide?


You gave like 10 really ez clues about who is writing this.

You are obviously one of 50 women who have worked with my sonny.

You will end up face floating in the river if you keep it up!

lv Jmom :)


So, what should a person do when they receive an anonymous "death threat" regarding their former employment?

Should they ignore it?

Forward it to the Human Resources Department of the former employer?

Call the police?

Well, I called the police, filed a complaint with the FBI, and sent an e-mail to my former employer (the House of Representatives) and, frankly, I'm not sure that anyone is even at home, let alone interested.

So, here's an open letter to Representative Jim Dunn - my former employer - a guy who apparently doesn't know when he should just give up.

Dear Representative Dunn:

I have no idea why the people in your legislative district chose to re-elect you, despite the many rumors of the way you treated female staff members during the last decade.

I guess it's a commentary of sorts about how America feels about women in the workplace.

Today, I sat in front of a police officer, who, during most of the interview, looked shocked when I described what happened to me when I worked for you in 1999. I'm not even sure that he even believed me. But the records exist. Even if only a few people know about them.

Did I make a mistake trying to handle it "in house"? (keep the investigation entirely within the House of Representatives)?


Nevertheless, media across the state has not minced any words regarding their opinion of your behavior towards women who work in the legislature.

You see, no matter how you choose to frame it, Mr. Dunn, there is no one to blame for your behavior but you!

What I do want to make clear to you is that I am no longer willing to be "intimidated" or "threatened" by you or your supporters (if there are any left in this state). (Rep. Dunn is currently running for re-election in the 17th Legislative District).

What you did to me when I worked for you back in the late 1990's has become some sort of a bizarre folk legend in this state. Believe me, I'm aware that the media has printed numerous stories about you, and some of the things that happened back in the late 90's. But the stories about what happened did not originate with me.

They came from the Chief Clerk, Republican leadership, your Republican seat mates and the media.

For the record, I did not appreciate receiving death threats when I worked for you nor do I appreciate receiving them now - (the water theme is getting old - and, so are the threats).

I have reported the latest death threat, dated June 17th, 2008, and I hope that the Bellingham Police Department and the FBI can trace it back to the individual or individuals who wrote it.

Your attentions towards me have never been welcome and I have no desire to have any further contact with you. As far as I'm concerned, you are an abusive human being. Stay away from me and my family.


Elisabeth Britt

And, to our local legislators - for God's sake, when is this going to end? How can the Washington State Legislature allow one man to behave like this, over and over again for ten years? How many other women has he tormented like this?

Doesn't it mean anything that I worked my heart out for this community and our state? Do any of you care that I had to leave a job I loved to escape the stalking, assault and harassment? What protection exists in the Legislature for exempt employees like me?

Doesn't anyone think its strange that behavior like this goes unpunished? Or, is it only because Jim Dunn is a legislator?

In November of 2007, leadership stripped Dunn of his committees and per diem for "ONE" comment to a legislative staffer after an Appropriations Committee.

You pass laws protecting teachers, nurses, nursing home assistants, law enforcement officers and fire fighters from physical abuse and harassment, but you leave current and former legislative employees like me hanging in the wind.

I left the legislature in 1999. I was so frightened, I didn't even take my belongings with me. I lost everything.

You're darn right I'm angry. And I have every right to be!

(Senator Dale Brandland was not in office when this happened to me. Representatives Linville, Quall, Morris and Erickson were in Olympia. So was Senator Spanel and Senator Georgia Gardner). The House was split 50/50.

I've been out of the loop for a while now, haven't I. I didn't know about any of this at the time. Sorry about that. I would have like to have been at least a little supportive. This kind of crap is not okay, no matter how much power the abuser has.

It's sad when people who can pay lip service to wanting to stand up to the powerful and protect those under their power can't actually face the realities of what their peers and/or friends have done and put up actions a fraction as bold as their words.But this is Olympia, so that kind of sadness is nothing new.

With you and Cathy no longer in town, there are scant few folks left there that I can trust to have a straight conversation with. Not that I've been in the loop enough to need that much lately.

Not sure I can offer much help beyond reassuring you of my belief in you and what you're describing, and an offer to chat sometime if you'd have time and would like. Glad to find you here, and I'll try to keep a little more current on what you've got going here.

I'm fixing to do a
podcast episode on politics in the next week or so (maybe tonight) and your response would be welcome if you wanted to give one.

Take care,

Elisabeth said: Thank you for your comment and support Blain. I'll visit your site and provide a response soon.

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