Democratic candidate Jon Ebel calls for Senator Franken to step down


Elisabeth Neely

Portrait of University professor Jonathan Ebel. Ebel is a professor in the Department of Religion and is a Democratic congressional candidate for the 13th Congressional District.

By The Daily Illini Staff Report

University professor and congressional candidate for the 13th district Jon Ebel joined the ranks of Democrats that called for Senator Al Franken’s resignation.

Ebel said in a press release that Franken should step down from the Senate in light of Franken’s sexual harassment allegations. Franken announced Thursday he would be resigning from his position. 

“I wanted the voters in the 13th district in Illinois to know I will not tolerate colleagues who have engaged in sexual harassment behavior, or who have expressed this sense of entitlement to somebody else’s body,” Ebel said.

Ebel expressed it is very important for anyone who is in public office now or who is seeking public office to be “absolutely crystal clear about where they stand on people who have engaged in these types of problematic behavior.”

The press release added that Franken is no longer a viable role model for future leaders, nor a credible advocate for women’s rights.

“I think what American voters need to do is press candidates on their own behaviors (and) attitudes,” Ebel said. “If it comes out that they have acted in ways that are hostile to women or that express a sense of entitlement to a woman’s body, the American voters need to reject that person as a leader and a moral exemplar.”

Ebel said American voters need to determine if who they are electing clearly values safe work environments for women and are committed to standing up against sexual harassment.

“If we as democrats are serious about equalizing opportunity between women and men, and about the more fundamental goal of establishing once and for all a woman’s right to control her own body, we must demand accountability for their actions and look elsewhere for leadership,” Ebel said.

Ebel asked for leaders to be both effective legislators and credible role models and voices for progressive values, explaining that for political leaders, the environment of Washington or Springfield causes them to lose sight of their obligation to be just role models.

“It becomes just about the power, about the office,” Ebel said. “They lose sight that people are watching them and that their actions and their words matter.”

Ebel said he hopes Americans and U.S. leaders will come out of this better, smarter and more sensitive to what is right and what is wrong.

“Hopefully what we’re seeing now is a moment of reckoning and we will be moving past it,” Ebel said. “But not before those who are guilty of these actions are called to account for it.”

The release also condemns candidate Roy Moore and the Republican party for embracing Moore.

“I’m disgusted. I’m disgusted by his actions, as the father of three daughters,” Ebel said. “The idea that a man in his thirties would pursue sexual relations with a child, it makes me want to vomit.”

He said the fact the Republican party is unable find a moral compass to direct them away from this candidate is almost just as upsetting.

“Frankly, I think it reveals something of the soul of the Republican party at this moment that they care more about power than they care about what is right,” Ebel said.

Ebel encouraged his fellow candidates to announce on the record as being against sexual harassment in government.

In particular, Ebel said it is equally important for his Republican opponent, Rodney Davis, to be clear that he will not tolerate sexual harassment and will stand firm against people who abuse women.

“It’s really disappointing to me that he hasn’t spoken clearly against Roy Moore and that he hasn’t been beating the drum of disgust against President Trump, as well,” Ebel said.

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