Given Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher’s public, on-the-record comment about me, I would like to provide further clarification and documentation of what transpired and some background.
Last Saturday I released a statement:
In December, Senate candidate Jeff Waldstreicher suggested to me that I do him “a favor” by running in the Senate race. I was shocked, offended, and felt disrespected. The request – presumably made to split the vote and make it tougher for his then only opponent, Dana Beyer – wasn’t a joke and neither of us laughed. Women work hard to move into leadership positions and we should be respected for stepping up to run for office.
Delegate Waldstreicher’s response on the record to Bethesda Beat:
Delegate Waldstreicher and I did have coffee. Following is a text message to arrange our time and meeting place on 12/22/17:
Immediately afterward, I texted my good friend Guy about what Delegate Waldstreicher stated:
I also spoke with my team of volunteers about this incident but decided just to let it go.
It was only when I saw the story in Seventh State on 1/12/18 about Senate candidate Dana Beyer rejecting Jeff Waldstreicher’s offer to down-slate to the Delegate race that I felt there was a pattern and I sent the following to David Lublin:
David Lublin then told me he would do a story the following Monday.
On Saturday, 1/13/18, I received the following from Delegate Waldstreicher:
Delegate Waldstreicher and I spoke on Sunday, 1/14/18, where he told me he heard from Seventh State and that I should “reframe” what he said as a joke. I explained that it wasn’t a joke to me and that I was offended.
Seventh State never did the story.
At least two journalists have off-the-record confirmation that this occurred – only that Delegate Waldstreicher maintains it was a joke. Hopefully – especially with my added documentation – they will feel comfortable sharing what they know to be true and how the statement that Delegate Waldstreicher made in Bethesda Beat is untrue.
Important Back Story
In 2015, I approached Delegate Waldstreicher as part of my advocacy work with survivors of domestic abuse. I was increasingly aware of how abusers sometimes use litigation as an avenue to cause serious financial harm – especially in child custody cases. I’ve seen many survivors struggle to maintain legal representation to protect themselves and their children, only to see that there is no finality or resolve when an abuser can continue to file. Some parents bleed out financially and become unable to afford the tens of thousands of dollars for a retainer typically required by attorneys. When that happens, they potentially lose representation and possibly custody of their children. It is an issue I’ve been working on for some time and is part of the reason why I was invited to serve on the Maryland Governor’s Family Violence Council in 2016.
Here is an email that I sent to Delegate Waldstreicher, as a constituent and advocate, asking that he consider litigation abuse and what policy solutions could be explored in Annapolis (like anti-SLAPP laws, which exist in Maryland but have proven ineffective in domestic abuse situations).
Further, I explained to Delegate Waldstreicher that I was experiencing this first-hand when, at the time, there were two family law filings on the same matter filed in two different jurisdictions and a $28,000,000 civil suit (since dismissed) that was filed against me. Following is an email about the civil suit:
And Delegate Waldstreicher’s expressed interest and support regarding my situation:
Given his knowledge of my own struggles with litigation abuse, it is appalling to me that his official, on-the-record statement to the media would be postured litigiously with words like “defamatory” and “actual malice” – especially because he knows what he said and the truth of the matter – AND because I’m running for Delegate! I have no doubt, especially given his knowledge of my own domestic and litigation abuse experience, that these comments were launched to silence me.
I will not be silenced or intimidated by Delegate Waldstreicher.
And, BTW, while he was willing to have me reference his name to this issue, he did nothing to advance any policy solution.
An Ironic Twist
On a lite note, I thought it was rather ironic that in Waldstreicher’s statement to Bethesda Beat included Michelle Obama’s quote “when they go low, we go high.” I’ve worn a bracelet with that quote since 2016 and was wearing it on Sunday at the D18 forum.
While this experience has been stressful, I couldn’t be more thankful to be running for Delegate among other incredible people with integrity and knowledge. Both seated policymakers and others who are running in various other races have reached out to me with support. And, last Sunday, Mila Johns emailed all the women running in D18 to encourage us to wear black in solidarity to the forum. While it may be disheartening that there appears to be a cover-up, I’m hopeful for Maryland and D18 with other quality candidates running.
#TruthToPower #MeToo #InternationalWomensDay #MDGA18 #MoCo #MDPolitics