MINOT, N.D. — Let me begin this account of the most remarkable floor session in the North Dakota House of Representatives I’ve observed in nearly 20 years of following the chamber by complimenting the women who had the courage to stand and speak even as their harasser glowered across the room from them.
It was my open records request, and my reporting, which divulged to the public Rep. Luke Simons’ years-long history of harassment, but it was the courage of women such as Rep. Emily O’Brien, Rep. Brandy Pyle, and Rep. LaurieBeth Hager, who spoke up about their experiences with Simons even as he looked on, who carried the day.
Pyle, specifically, spoke with her 13-year-old daughter looking on from the gallery, something she references in her floor speech.
I hope her daughter saw Rep. Pyle as the hero she is.
Perhaps the most damning speeches came not from the harassed women, though their testimony was powerful, or other lawmakers supporting them, who were erudite in support, but from Simons’ fellow Bastiat Caucus members like Rep. Ben Koppelman, Rep. Rick Becker, and Rep. Jeff Hoverson.