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Rep. Tom Reed

Photo by BrookingsInst is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Republican Rep. Tom Reed said yesterday that he would not run for re-election or for any other office in New York in 2022, an announcement that came two days after the Washington Post published a story where a former lobbyist named Nicolette Davis accused Reed of sexually harassing her at a Minneapolis restaurant in 2017.

Davis, who was a 25-year-old insurance company lobbyist at the time, recounted that she had briefly met Reed earlier on the day in question during a networking trip. Davis says she went to a restaurant with several of her colleagues later that evening that Reed also happened to be at, and she wound up sitting next to him at a table.

In the words of reporter Beth Reinhard, Davis says that the congressman put his "hand outside her blouse, briefly fumbled with her bra before unhooking it by pinching the clasp," which left her "stunned" and afraid to speak. Reinhard continued, "He moved his hand to her thigh, inching upward." Reed only stopped, according to Davis, after she asked another person at the table for help, who then "pull[ed] the congressman away from the table and out of the restaurant."

Davis showed the paper a text from that night in which she told her friend and coworker, Jessica Strieter, "A drunk congressman is rubbing my back," and later added, "HELP HELP." An unnamed witness also told Reinhard that "Reed was visibly intoxicated and put his hand on Davis' back before being escorted from the restaurant while the rest of the group remained."

Strieter says that Davis told her more about the incident after the trip, adding, "She was really shaken by it." Davis' supervisor at the time, Brad Knox, also said that he remembered Davis telling him about what happened. Knox added that he asked Davis if she wanted to file a complaint with the House Ethics Committee but says that she decided not to. Davis herself says she now regrets not pursuing that option, but explained, "I was afraid I would become 'that girl' who made a mess of things for a member, and that no one would ever want to associate with me."

The Post contacted Reed, who had been mulling a bid for governor of New York, with a list of questions for the story, to which he responded, "This account of my actions is not accurate." On Sunday, though, Reed published a statement apologizing to Davis and announcing that he would not be on the ballot for anything next year.

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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signs anti-transgender bill on March 11, 2021

Screenshot from Tate Reeves Twitter (@tatereeves)

Mississippi 's Republican Gov. Tate Reeves officially signed the first anti-transgender bill of 2021 into law Thursday, "proudly" barring young trans student-athletes from playing sports in groups that match their gender identity, while thousands in the state are still without running water.

When he announced his signing of S.B. 2536 -- a transphobic bill that forces schools to designate their sports teams "according to biological sex" -- Reeves claimed that "one of [President Biden's] first acts was to sign an [executive order] encouraging transgenderism in children," while using the deeply offensive term "biological males" to refer to transgender women and girls.

He also attempted to falsely blame President Joe Biden for the bigotry of state lawmakers, saying, "POTUS left us no choice."

His signing of the bill, which denies basic human rights to transgender youth, was met with outrage from LGBTQ+ advocates around the country.

Alphonso David, the Human Rights Campaign President, said Reeves "chooses fear and division over facts and science," and added: "Bullying transgender kids is no way to govern the state out of the crises they face."

David is referring to "a deadly polar vortex" that hit Jackson, Mississippi particularly hard last month, leaving "40,000 people in the state's largest city" without water, according to LGBTQ+ news site them.

"Like previous iterations of the same anti-equality fight, this law is bound to face scrutiny, legal challenges, and ultimately hurt the state's reputation," said David. "Transgender kids deserve better and so does Mississippi."

The news comes as South Dakota passed a "religious refusal" bill, which would allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ people on the basis of religion, last Thursday. The state is also very close to enacting an anti-transgender law, that Gov. Kristi Noem (R) committed to signing on International Women's Day, ironically celebrating the day with a bill is designed to attack women in the state.

"In an attempt to 'level the playing field,' House Bill 1217 excludes an entire group of women and girls from meaningful participation in sports," said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. "(The bill) isn't about protecting fairness in women's sports. It's about erasing and excluding trans people from participation in all aspects of public life. It's about creating solutions to problems that don't exist and, in the process, harming some of the most vulnerable people in our state."

H.B. 1217 passed through the state legislature and was delivered to the governor's desk on Wednesday.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, these two bills represent just a fraction of the 128 anti-LGBTQ+ bills around the country, 65 of which attack transgender rights specifically.