Harassment of Elected Officials Must Stop

What we allow is what will continue. Are we willing to put an end to escalating harassment and intimidation of our elected officials, or will we sit on the sidelines?

Political violence is not a new phenomenon. Those seeking to serve in public office have always faced hostility. Now, as a record number of women and other underrepresented groups have made inroads into elected office, the reactions have become heightened and dangerous. The mix of the digital era, pandemic isolation and growing partisanship provides a powder keg ready to explode.

With the growing number of women in office, the violence towards them is also rising. Violence against women in politics takes many forms including death threats, rape threats, sexual harassment, misogyny, disparagement, and sexist and racist abuse. These tactics attempt to silence and to force compliance. They aim to undermine our democracy by preventing true representation.

From north to south and coast to inland, SLO County has seen numerous egregious acts against women candidates and elected officials. A razor blade in a tire, an intruder at a City Hall, a public commenter spewing misogynistic accusations, a letter to the editor containing a veiled death threat, a social-media poster slinging sexualized tropes. These are moments of abhorrent action, and they have lasting effects.

Every generation is responsible for strengthening our democracy with equity, respect and fairness. It is up to us to be the change we want to see. We can be passionate but respectful in our dissent. We can be courageous but non-violent in our disagreements. What we cannot do is accept that political violence comes with the territory. Instead, we must make this behavior unacceptable. When we do, we will be able to encourage true dialogue, welcome diverse ideas, make space for underrepresented people, and ultimately grow the number of participants in our democracy.

How can we make a difference? Demonstrate respectful public discourse. Be a constructive contributor in person and online. Call out abusive and inappropriate behavior. Support a candidate or elected official. Attend public comment, not just when you’re upset but also when you want to share a word of praise. And when your representatives share what is happening, make a public display of your solidarity. You might even consider joining politics yourself – apply for a board or commission, or run for office. Above all else, engage. Don’t let the absence of your voice be your complicity.

Women’s March SLO Organizers
Dawn Addis, Andrea Chmelik, Jen Ford, Terry Parry, Pat Harris, Rita Casaverde, Gail Bunting


Elected officials:

Salud Carbajal, U.S. Congressman (CA-24) John Laird, California State Senator (SD-17) Bruce Gibson, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor (District 2) Dawn Ortiz-Legg, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor (District 3) Jimmy Paulding, Arroyo Grande Mayor Pro Tem Lan George, Arroyo Grande City Council Member Kristen Barneich, Arroyo Grande City Council Member Keith Storton, Arroyo Grande City Council Member Susan Funk, Atascadero City Council Member Mariam Shah, Grover Beach Mayor Pro Tem Karen Bright, Grover Beach City Council Member John Headding, Morro Bay Mayor Dawn Addis, Morro Bay City Council Member Maria Garcia, Paso Robles City Council Member Marcia Guthrie, Pismo Beach City Council Member Heidi Harmon, San Luis Obispo Mayor Erica A. Stewart, San Luis Obispo Vice Mayor Andy Pease, San Luis Obispo City Council Member Jan Marx, San Luis Obispo City Council Member Christine Womack, Los Osos Community Service District President Cynthia Replogle, Oceano Community Service District Director Sandra Sarrouf, 3rd District Elected Representative, Los Osos Community Advisory Council

Organizations & Businesses:

Planned Parenthood Central Coast Action Fund
Indivisible: Rapid Response Team SLO
Allies for Immigration Justice, SLO County
R.A.C.E. Matters SLO County
League of Women Voters of San Luis Obispo County
Atascadero Democratic Club
Jane Lloyd and Marie-Christine Mahe, Stonewall Democratic Club of San Luis Obispo County

Community Members:

Laura Albers

Stephanie Allen

John Allen

Nick Andre

Ruth Ann Angus

Mark Arnold

Melinda Avila

Gina Axsom

Odile Ayral

Barbara Babka

Nancy Badrigian

Michael Baird

Jessica Baker

Kathleen Baker

Tina Ballantyne

Marisa Balmana

Jennifer Baltes

Susan Balthasar

Erica Flores Baltodano

Larry Barnes

Chrys Barnes

Cheryl Barton-Petrie

Meredith Bates

Kathryn Bay

Dawn Beattie

Susan Belany

Kathleen Benedict

Dayna Bennett

Ellen Beraud

Judy Berk

Diana Bertinuson

Susan Biesek

Audrey Bigelow

Mary Blackler

Samson Blackwell

C. Jordan Blaquera

Suzan Boatman

Ann Bollay

Vicki Bookless

Kayla Brachear

Quinn Brady

Valerie Breese

Wendy Brown

Quinn Brussel

Shawn Burn

Alicia Busa

Michelle Call

Katie Carrillo

Karen Carson

Lori Caudill

Cynthia Chaillie Marchant

Kevin Clark

Jeanie Class

Gerri Clemens

Donna Clipperton

June Cochran

Christina Coffman

Tom Comar

John Alan Connerley

Jody Cook

Daniel Cook

Sarah Coplen

Mary Lynn Crandall

Karen Croley

Gayle Cuddy

Jesse Cutburth

Rev Dr Donald J Dallmann

Diane Danfield

Robert Fuller Davis

Jenine Davison

Jane Davison

Victoria De La Rosa

Georganna Dean

Letri Deedon

Rita Delkeskamp

Nancy Dickenson

Cheryl Dove

Rebecca Drake

Susan Dressler

Sari Dworkin

Judy Ellis

Laura Emerson

Valerie Endres

Ronald Epping

Britt Fairchild

Janine Fallon

Marcianne Fast

Michelle Feldman

Travis Ford

Amy Freeman

Sheree Garcia

Pam Gates

Don GerBracht

Dreima Gingg

Chelly Glancy

Tara Gonzales

Gayle Goodman

Marilyn Gordon

Kimberly Gravell

Heather Gray

Jessica Griffiths

Robin Guittard

Jessica Guthrie Montes

Haila Hafley-Kluver

Ashley Hain

Marilyn Hamilton

Dona Hare Price

Robyn Harris

Ann Havlik

Barbara Hawkins

Margaret Heinrichs

Elizabeth Helgerson

Yvonne Helms

Stephen Heraldo

Douglas J. Heumann

Amy Hewes

Travis Higgins

Galadriel Bree Highhouse

Dorothy Hines

Kristin Horowitz

Lizabeth Horton

Heather Howell

Sandee Hunt-Burns

Chuck Intrieri

Scott Jenkins

Shelly Johnson

Rochelle Johnson

Arya Jones

Judy Jones

Kelsey Jones

Marti Jorgensen-Lindholm

Cameron Jung-Fagan

Evy Justesen

Ruth Kalin

Winifred Kang

Leslie Kasanoff

Candia Katich

Karl Kempton

Carol Kenyon

Clare Kennedy

Sharon Kimball

Angie King

Julie Kliegl

Kelly Knox

Laura Knutson

Brian Kragh

Catharine Krupp

Carol Lake

John Lamb

Jennifer Lane

Janice Langley

Meredith Larson

Randee LaSalle

Johnathan Lau

Denise Leader Stoeber

Laura Leary

Christina Lefevre Latner

Lucy Lo

Carolyn Long

Jude Long

Carol Lopes

Martha Lozano

Diane Ludin

Evan Manning

Jamie Maraviglia

Sandra Marshall

Don Maruska

Tess Matthews

Charles Matthews

Brenda May

Diane Mayfield

Carol McBirnie

Paula McCambridge

Laura McCarley

Sandi McClung

Nicole McDermott-Rivera

Marty McGrath

Athena Meisheid

Karen Merriam

Lynda Merrill

Jan Meslin

Vita Miller

Jenna Mitchell

Kate Montgomery

Kim Murry

Betsey Nash

Laurie Niblock

Robin Noble

DC O’Brien

Aaron Ochs

Eileen O’Grady

Thomas Ogren

Kathleen Oliver

Lori Olson

Laura Parker

Christine Parker-Kennedy

Marta Peluso

Sandra Pendell

Lee Perkins

Janice Peters

Marie Peters

Douglas Pillsbury

Jackie Pope

Barry Price

Susan Quinones

Vickie Rabourn

Gary & Gizella Raymond

Kathy Reid

Nancy Reid

Paul Reinhardt

Bill and Lana Richmond

Amena Roalman

Rosanna Robinson

Susan C. Robinson, MD

Vicki Rogers

Virginia Roof

Phyllis Rosenfeld

Andrea Rule

Nina Russo

Melanie Sachs

Tamarra Salazar

Janet Salem

Monica Schechter

Nancy Schonfeldt

Debora Schwartz

Michelle Shoresman

Glenn Silloway

Julie Smith

Christopher Smith

Cristine Smith

Dian SousaBarbara Spagnola

Leslie Spoon

Stephanie Stackhouse

Mary Stallard

Erma Stauffer

Gary and Vallerie Steenson

Jill Stegman

Susan Stenovec

JoAnne Stoddard

Cheryl Storton

Mary Strobridge

Suzanne Sullivan

Carol Swain

Vicki Tamoush

Sasha Taus

John Taylor

Caroljean Teuffel

Kathleen Thorne

Terry Throop

Mike Toppe

Dee Torres-Hill

Manon Tree

Charles Tribbey

Kathryn Tribbey

Joyce Tseng

Darlene Tunney Rosene

Carolina Van Stone

Charles Varni

Jane Viles

Kathryn Voice

Phil Wagner

Lorraine Waldau

Allie Walter

Danielle Wheeler

Gina Whitaker


Kayla Wilburn

Constance Winstead

Sharon Wood

Kara Woodruff

William Worger

Rosemary Wrenn

Bonnie Young

Priscilla Young

Mary Young

Jill ZamEk

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