Democratic Nevada congressman Ruben Kihuen has been accused of making sexual advances toward a woman who worked for him, identified only as “Samantha.” She worked as the finance director for Kihuen’s 2016 campaign when he made several unwanted propositions and initiated unasked for physical contact.
Kihuen is a “rising star in the party” who flipped a Nevada district last cycle from Republican to Democrat. He is also a “dreamer,” according to FOX News. The congressman said he came to America at 8-years old, and he went on to learn English in the public schools while taking advantage of the education (see video below).
Speaking to BuzzFeed, Samantha said that in addition to other violations, Kihuen repeatedly asked her if she would cheat on her boyfriend, touched her thighs without her consent, and suggested they get a hotel room together. Samantha, 25 at the time, was serving Kihuen, who was 35 and competing in the primary race for his first term in Congress
Samantha said she left the campaign in April 2016 due to the ongoing advances. She reportedly told a staffer at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) about her experience. Kihuen’s campaign manager was then informed that Samantha felt “uncomfortable” around Kihuen, but the candidate denied any wrong-doing upon questioning.
Kihuen addressed the accusations in a statement released Friday: “The staff member in question was a valued member of my team. I sincerely apologize for anything that I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable. I take this matter seriously as it is not indicative of who I am. I was raised in a strong family that taught me to treat women with the utmost dignity and respect. I have spent my fifteen years in public service fighting for women’s equality, and I will continue to do so.”
With the Democratic party facing numerous accusations of impropriety by powerful members – including Michigan Rep. John Conyers, Arizona Rep. Raul M. Grijalva and Senator Al Franken – Ben Ray Luján, the head of the DCCC, said that Kihuen should resign. Sen. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also issued a statement, calling for Kihuen’s resignation.
Kihuen was a protégé of former senate majority leader Harry Reid and has been a popular figure in the Democratic Party, which is looking for young members to revitalize its ranks. Kihuen is the first Latino to be elected to represent Nevada in the House of Representatives.
Regarding his immigration to the U.S, Kihuen reportedly said, “I didn’t choose to come here. My parents picked up their stuff and said, ‘We want to go to America so we can get a piece of the land of opportunity and achieve the American dream’.”
His family came legally, on a visa, but overstayed and fell into the undocumented category. Under the 1986 Immigration Reform Act — signed into law by Republican President Ronald Reagan — Kihuen and his family were allowed to stay.
Nancy Pelosi calls for Nevada Congressman Ruben Kihuen to resign over woman’s claims of unwanted advances pic.twitter.com/AoLddhiEUv
— FOX&friends Weekend (@ffweekend) December 2, 2017
DCCC calls on Rep. Kihuen to resign after he was accused of sexually harassing his finance director during the campaign https://t.co/euG4aQlpwv
— Sam Stein (@samstein) December 1, 2017
#BREAKING Pelosi spoke late Fri w/Rep Kihuen. says “In Congress, no one should face sexual harassment in..The young woman’s documented account is convincing..In light of these upsetting allegations, Congressman Kihuen should resign.”
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) December 2, 2017
Pelosi says Congressman Kihuen should resign pic.twitter.com/BxoKHrGqjP
— Katherine Gypson (@kgyp) December 2, 2017
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