Editor’s Note: Mary D. Wagner, a Democrat, is a candidate for state representative in the 8th District (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku).

As a longtime constituent of former Rep. Joseph Souki and the only woman running for the seat he held, I’d like to comment on the news that the Hawaii House of Representatives is forming a working group on sexual harassment.

Prior to this action, I started an online petition to request that the state House immediately reform its policies on sexual harassment.

As pointed out by the Civil Beat Editorial Board, the existing policies are outdated and inadequate, partly because they deny victims multiple avenues of complaint.

Rep. Joe Souki was forced to resign his office this year because of inappropriate behavior.

Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

While I’m glad House leadership is now taking this issue seriously, it shouldn’t take a great deal of time and effort to enact commonsense reforms. I stand by my call for prompt action and urge sitting legislators and candidates for office to join me.

You can see the petition here.

Among 51 seats in the state House, only 15 are held by women. Electing more women is a good way to foster more welcoming and respectful workplaces, both at the state Capitol and at job sites throughout Hawaii.

I’m heartened to see so many other women are joining me in running for office for the first time. I’ve worked in public service and volunteered for other campaigns for many years, but now it’s my time to step up.

Please check out my campaign at maryformaui.org and on social media using #maryformaui. Mahalo.

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