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Women Call California Lawmaker’s Hugs Inappropriate

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, faces allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

Another California lawmaker faces allegations of inappropriate behavior. This time, it’s Democratic state Senator Bob Hertzberg of Los Angeles. 

Bob Hertzberg is a hugger. He hugs just about everyone – to the point that he’s earned the nickname “Huggybear.”

But a Sacramento Bee article quotes three lawmakers who say his hugs crossed a line and were inappropriate. Two of the three are sitting lawmakers who declined to give their names.

A third, former Republican Assemblywoman Linda Halderman, said Hertzberg hugged her repeatedly – and when she asked him to stop, he pinned her in his arms and thrust his groin into her. She told the Bee it was like “dirty dancing.”

In a statement, Hertzberg said he’s greeted friends and colleagues with a hug all his life. He went on to say, quote: “I apologize to anyone who may have ever felt uncomfortable, and I will change how I greet people moving forward.”

His office says he respects the women’s right to come forward and will fully cooperate with any investigation.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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