King County Labor Council executive secretary-treasurer Nicole Grant (left), former state Rep. Jessyn Farrell (center) and Washington State Democrats chair Tina Podlodowski (right), among others, called for Sen. Joe Fain's resignation on Tuesday.
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King County Labor Council executive secretary-treasurer Nicole Grant (left), former state Rep. Jessyn Farrell (center) and Washington State Democrats chair Tina Podlodowski (right), among others, called for Sen. Joe Fain's resignation on Tuesday.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Sydney Brownstone

Progressive groups, Democrats call for Sen. Joe Fain's resignation

Representatives from women's organizations in Washington state, the Washington State Democrats, the King County Labor Council, and a Seattle port commissioner on Tuesday called for state Sen. Joe Fain's resignation following a rape allegation made against the legislator last month.

Shortly after the Kavanaugh hearings concluded in September, former Seattle city official Candace Faber tweeted that Fain had raped her on the night of her graduation from Georgetown University in 2007. Fain has denied the allegation and said he would welcome an investigation, though he has declined to answer specific questions from KUOW.

Senate Republicans said last week that they were discussing options for such an investigation, but it has yet to materialize. Faber has not reported the allegation to police in Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington executive director Tiffany Hankins, speaking outside the King County Courthouse, said Faber's allegations deserve a "more serious response."

"We cannot let Sen. Fain stand by and run out the clock with only a few weeks left until the election," Hankins said. "I believe that Sen. Fain should resign from the legislature immediately."

Also in attendance at the press conference were Washington State Democrats chair Tina Podlodowski, former state Rep. Jessyn Farrell and King County Labor Council executive secretary-treasurer Nicole Grant.

Last year, Grant's organization stood by its endorsement of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray after he was accused by multiple men of sexual abuse when they were teenagers; Podlodowski said it would be reasonable to ask if Murray's accusers were politically motivated; and Farrell initially offered supportive words for the mayor. (Farrell later urged Murray to resign.)

"I will say clearly I was wrong a year ago in doing that," Farrell said when asked about what made the Fain allegation different. "And I learned that the hard way, and I am here today to say we have to change the way we do this. We have to create new norms when survivors come out at great personal cost and there is no doubt that the folks who stood up against Ed Murray spoke at great personal cost."

Podlodowski said that she empathized with the shock people supporting Fain might feel.

"Obviously it's really clear to me in this place that no one should have stood by [Mayor Ed Murray] and as long as they did," she said. "And I think we've all apologized for that and gotten past it."

Podlodowski asked what the media was doing to investigate Faber's allegations.

"You know, people were like dogs with bones going after the Ed Murray story," she said. "Where is that same level?"

Fain's spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the press conference. Faber also did not comment.

This month, the Seattle Times Editorial Board reaffirmed its endorsement of Fain and published a letter from bipartisan women elected in his district lending their support to his campaign. In the primary election for his 47th District seat, Fain took an eight-point lead over his Democrat challenger, Mona Das.