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Christine Pelosi: Money, power, access fuel harassment in Sacramento




SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 18:  A view of the California State Capitol February 18, 2009 in Sacramento, California. After days of wrangling, the California State Senate secured the necessary two-thirds majority to pass a $41 billion budget after Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) broke party lines and voted for the budget.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 18: A view of the California State Capitol February 18, 2009 in Sacramento, California. After days of wrangling, the California State Senate secured the necessary two-thirds majority to pass a $41 billion budget after Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) broke party lines and voted for the budget. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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The hashtag #MeToo has become a rallying cry for survivors of sexual assault. It started Sunday in response to the latest accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. 

https://twitter.com/Alyssa_Milano/status/919659438700670976

Since then, thousands have taken to social media to raise awareness about an issue that's all too pervasive. Now, the #MeToo movement has made its way to Sacramento.

On Tuesday, female lawmakers, lobbyists, and staffers signed an open letter calling out "dehumanizing behavior by men with power."

Christine Pelosi was one of them. She chairs the California Democratic Party Women's Caucus. 

Pelosi tells Take Two's A Martinez that a culture driven by money, power, and access has made Sacramento an unsafe working environment for many women.

When you're working in close quarters where power and control —  based on position, based on access and based on money — are the currency of the realm, it is very, very, very difficult for young, vulnerable women — particularly women of color, particularly women who do not have someone to call, someone to rescue them. That's why people don't come forward. 

If you're in a small office, you're at a junior staff level, and a powerful lobbyist comes in to try to convince you to tell your boss to vote a certain way on a bill, otherwise they're gonna spend a ton of money against your boss and — by the way — they put their hand on your knee — what are you supposed to do? Who are you supposed to tell? 

This is about power, not sex. It's about control, not sex. It is completely related to corrosive money in politics. If that lobbyist weren't coming with the weight of millions of dollars in corporate money that could be spent against your boss, perhaps you'd feel more comfortable speaking up. 

Press the blue play button above to hear the changes Christine Pelosi is proposing. 

The answer above has been edited for clarity.