Alicia Menendez, daughter and campaign adviser to embattled New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, graduated from Harvard College in 2005, with an honors degree in Studies in Women, Gender and Sexuality. Her senior honors thesis, entitled “To Whom Many Doors are Still Locked: Gender, Space and Power in Harvard Final Clubs” which “used ethnographic research to explore the interplay of gendered ownership of space and women’s social capital” helped her to be named by the Harvard Crimson “one of the 15 most interesting people in the class of 2005.” She is founder of dailygrito.com, has appeared on MSNBC Live, CNN International, BBC World and Fox News and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
Ms. Menendez is a self-proclaimed feminist and has addressed women’s issues in politics in many different ways. In a March 2008 piece she wrote entitled “Silda for Governor ’14″ she focused on then-NY Governor Eliot Spitzer, after it was discovered he had been paying for the services of prostitutes. She seemingly excused his actions for biological, boys-will-be-boys reasons, yet empathized with his wife Silda’s resilience – ultimately calling on her to run for Governor herself. Then during the 2012 presidential election (as well as her father’s own re-election campaign), in a piece for NBCLatino.com, she addressed “The GOP’s Lady Problems”, claiming that because Republicans desire to discuss women’s issues in terms of the economy, deficit and jobs, instead of contraception, abortion rights and equal pay, they were out of touch with women in general.
Senator Menendez, of course, has been accused of traveling to the Dominican Republic at the expense of campaign donor Dr. Salomon Melgen, wherein he allegedly hired underage prostitutes. Senator Menendez is not married, and prostitution is legal in the Dominican Republic (the DR, however, does maintain restrictions for employment in the sex industry to 18 and older). Also, questions surrounding his relationship with Melgen and his recent “reimbursement” to him of more than $58,000 still plague the senator.
Viral Read has been actively following the recent allegations into Senator Menendez and will continue investigating. Certainly, his daughter’s past views and writings on sexuality and gender issues are in conflict with the senator’s actions in the Dominican Republic. As an adviser to his campaign, we wonder how Ms. Menendez squares this with myriad promises on the senator’s own website of a keen focus on women’s issues.
Ms. Menendez did not return emails seeking a comment.
Jeff Gurner also contributed to this story.