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Who is Lucy Flores? Nevada politician has accused Joe Biden of unwanted kiss on back of her head

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Former VP Joe Biden says he regrets he didn’t give Anita Hill “the hearing she deserved” when she shared her story of sexual harassment.
AP

RENO, Nev. – Lucy Flores, a former member of the Nevada Legislature and 2014 candidate for lieutenant governor and U.S. Congress, has accused former Vice President Joe Biden of “demeaning and disrespectful” behavior for an alleged 2014 incident. 

The allegation was made in a New York Magazine article published on Friday in which Flores recalls an unwanted kiss Biden allegedly gave her on the back of her head.

A spokesperson for Biden said the Delaware politician does not remember the incident.

The accusation comes amid mounting rumors that Biden is considering a 2020 bid for the White House.

Here’s a look at who Lucy Flores is and her political career:

More: Joe Biden doesn’t recall alleged kissing incident from 2014

Who is Lucy Flores?

Flores was raised in East Las Vegas, enduring a rocky childhood and dropping out of high school before passing the GED and graduating from UNLV.

“When I started to have problems at home, however, there wasn’t a support system for me,” she wrote in an opinion piece for the Reno Gazette Journal in 2014. “After my mom left when I was 9, my dad worked day and night to keep my family clothed and fed, leaving me with no one. I ended up falling in with the wrong crowd, and I fell through the cracks.

“By age 15, I was on juvenile parole, and by age 17, I was a high school dropout.

“But, I got lucky – I got people in my life who invested in me and that is why I am running: to make sure that every kid in Nevada has every opportunity to realize their potential, regardless of where they happen to live.”

A look at Flores’ political career

Nevada Assembly: Flores was first elected to the Nevada Assembly in 2010 and ran unopposed in 2012. She represented Assembly District 28, and served as vice chair of the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus in 2012.

During an Assembly Education Committee hearing on a sex education bill in 2013, Flores spoke about her abortion as a teenager. 

“I made that disclosure because it was important to talk about the effects this bill is intended to have on our community and what I thought it could have had on me had I had  this bill around when I was a teen,” Flores said. “How many of our current young people are still in the situation I was in?”

She received death threats about her testimony.

Campaign for lieutenant governor: In 2014, Flores left her Assembly seat to run for lieutenant governor, winning the Democratic nomination. She was defeated in the general election by Republican Mark Hutchison, 60% to 34%. 

“It was a bad environment for Democrats this year,” Flores said in a post-election interview with the Associated Press. “I was grossly outspent. We did what we could and we were very successful with the little we had, but I was not able to respond to false attack ads.”

Campaign for U.S. Congress: In 2016, Flores ran an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives, losing in a tough three-way Democratic primary to Ruben Kihuen.

During the campaign, then-RGJ columnist Jon Ralston pointed out that her website lifted content directly from Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

“Flores seemed surprised when I confronted her with the passages, saying, ‘At the time I had volunteers help with most of this, so I would have to try to get to the bottom of this,'” Ralston wrote.

“But she also told me, ‘I of course approved the language, but unless I did some sort of research on the language, I would have no way of knowing if phrases or sentences were coming from elsewhere.'”

2016 endorsement of Bernie Sanders: Flores endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during the 2016 primary campaign, backing his plans for a single-payer health care system, free college tuition and raise the national minimum wage to $15. The endorsement, coming in January 2016, came amid a spate of endorsements for Hillary Clinton by Nevada Democratic elected officials.

On Friday evening, though, Flores said on Twitter that she has not endorsed Sanders or any other presidential candidate.

Flores’ allegations

In an article published Friday under the headline, “An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden,” Flores recounted how Biden allegedly grabbed her shoulders from behind and kissed her head backstage during a rally in Las Vegas before the 2014 election.

“Just before the speeches, we were ushered to the side of the stage where we were lined up by order of introduction.

“As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. ‘Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?’

“He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head … he made me feel uneasy, gross, and confused. The vice-president of the United States of America had just touched me in an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners – and I felt powerless to do anything about it,” she wrote.

Biden’s spokesman said that the former vice president does not recall kissing her on the back of her head in 2014.

“Neither then, nor in the years since, did he or the staff with him at the time have an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes,” Biden spokesman Bill Russo said in a statement Friday.

Russo said Biden “believes Ms. Flores has every right to share her own recollection and reflections, and that it’s a change for the better in our society that she has the opportunity to do so.”

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