State Senate to conduct inquiry into public comments by Mona Das

District 47 senator claimed racism, sexism present at Democratic caucus meetings

State Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent. COURTESY PHOTO

State Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent. COURTESY PHOTO

The Secretary of the Senate has asked the chamber’s human resources officer to investigate public comments by Sen. Mona Das about “racism, sexism and misogyny” she said she experienced during closed-door Democratic caucus meetings in Olympia.

Secretary Brad Henderson told the Associated Press that once he was made aware of a story earlier this week by The Kent Reporter detailing the remarks by Das at a June 20 Kent Chamber of Commerce legislative forum, he requested the inquiry. The Senate Facilities and Operations Committee approved the request on Thursday.

Henderson said the inquiry will begin Monday.

“After they close that door, that’s when it gets real,” said Das, who was born in India and moved to the U.S. as an infant. “That’s when my 28 colleagues got real. And that’s when I heard hate, misogyny and racism and sexism from people you would not expect. That’s the type of light I want to shine. Now, when there are eight people of color in the Senate Democratic caucus, it was coded language – ‘those people.’ They would say things that were coded.”

Das, of Kent, posted on her Facebook page Wednesday that the article was a “mischaracterization of my remarks.” She posted comments that she sent to the Democratic caucus.

On Thursday, Das said she regretted accusing the newspaper of mischaracterizing her: “they didn’t misquote me,” according to the Seattle Times.

A video of her comments during the chamber luncheon shows she was not misquoted while talking about her experience as one of eight people of color in the Senate Democratic caucus.

Das also said in the Seattle Times article that she does not plan to file any formal complaint with the Senate’s human resources officer.

Das defeated two-term state Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, in November for the 47th Legislative District seat that represents parts of Kent, Auburn, Covington and Renton. She is in the first year of her four-year term.

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