A Joint Statement of Solidarity with Melissa Fazli

Brea, Calif. (May 4, 2018) – Early yesterday morning, Democratic 55th State Assembly District candidate Melissa Fazli made what must have been a very difficult decision to issue an official statement regarding a series of inappropriate interactions with a very powerful and wealthy fellow Democrat, Gil Cisneros, who is the Democratic National Campaign Committee’s officially endorsed candidate in California’s 39th Congressional District primary race.

Mrs. Fazli alleges that, on February 24, 2018, at the San Diego Bayfront Hotel, during the weekend of the California Democratic Party Convention, Mr. Cisneros – while apparently inebriated – responded to Mrs. Fazli’s request for a campaign donation with a thinly veiled proposition for sexual contact. She also says that, about a week later, she called Mr. Cisneros to follow up on her previous request for a campaign donation, and was met with what she believes to be a second sexual proposition.

Independent 39th Congressional District candidates Sophia Alexander and Steve Cox both maintain that accusations in situations such as this should always be believed by default until there’s some legitimate reason to doubt them, and they both stand with Mrs. Fazli.

“This type of behavior is morally reprehensible and out of line for any member of civilized society,” Ms. Alexander said. “As the daughter of a woman who was beaten by her partners, and whose sister was as well, I’ve witnessed the effects of predatory behavior like this first-hand. Further, as a proud member of the trans community, who are disproportionately affected by every type of gendered and discriminatory violence, I refuse to remain silent in the face of these kinds of allegations. This just goes to show how out of touch the DCCC is with the community of the 39th district in their support of Mr. Cisneros. If the DCCC doesn’t take action on Mrs. Fazli’s behalf in the wake of these accusations, that speaks strongly to their values as an organization, and I trust our community’s voters will take note.

“And before anyone levels accusations against Mrs. Fazli regarding her ‘timing’ in sharing this awful experience, as frequently happens in societies where victim-blaming is so often considered acceptable, I want to tell you a story. My mother passed away in 2013. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was reading through a journal that she kept, and hidden among thousands of individual journal entries, there was one entry that mentioned that she had faced sexual harassment in her workplace for more than a decade while raising me and my brother. That was the first I’d heard of it. She never told anybody. Not her mother, her sisters... No one. Because in the pre-#MeToo society, it’s pretty likely no one would’ve believed her, or stood up for her. Women fear telling the truth about these terrible situations so much that they often take these stories to their literal graves. I applaud Mrs. Fazli’s courage in telling her story and I look forward to fighting for a more just world at her side.”

Mr. Cox echoes the sentiment, while adding, “Melissa Fazli must know she’s taking a huge risk in speaking publicly about something like this. Mr. Cisneros, after winning over a quarter-billion dollars in the California Lottery in 2010, has been a major source of funding nationwide for Democratic Party races in this election cycle. He’s been treated like royalty by the Democratic Party establishment, repeatedly flown back to the DC area for gatherings to hobnob with party officials and lobbyists. Frankly, with more than a handful of demonstrably stronger Democrats in the race, I believe this is the only reason he got his DCCC endorsement in the first place. I stand with Mrs. Fazli. No person should be subject to this sort of sexual pressure or predation. And while I, as an Independent of over 15 years, realized long ago the corrupting influence of our Big Two parties – whose only goal is to gain and maintain money and power for themselves – I suspect Mrs. Fazli will need this kind of support as she fends off the coming attacks from within her own party.”

Ms. Alexander and Mr. Cox are competitors in this 39th Congressional District Primary race but have joined together in support of Mrs. Fazli because they believe in the importance of standing up for those who are abused and neglected by the most powerful in our society. The 55th Assembly District, where Mrs. Fazli is running, resides within the boundaries of the 39th Congressional District, which makes Mrs. Fazli more than just a fellow candidate, but a potential constituent. Both Ms. Alexander and Mr. Cox have pledged to serve the people of the 39th Congressional District dutifully, and without reservation, and there’s no reason that service must start only once one or the other is sworn into Congress this winter. As such, this statement of solidarity should not be viewed as an endorsement of Mrs. Fazli’s campaign.

To join Sophia Alexander and Steve Cox in support of Melissa Fazli, please visit her website: http://www.FazliForAssembly.net

To learn more about Sophia Alexander, please visit her website: http://www.IndependentSophia.org

And to learn more about Steve Cox, please visit his website: http://www.VoteForCox.com

Steve Cox