Rachel Crooks, who has accused Donald Trump of giving her an unwanted kiss on the mouth in 2005 when she worked for a company in Trump Tower, has announced that she is running for a seat in the Ohio state legislature.
Crooks is one of 19 women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. In a new interview with Cosmopolitan, Crooks says that her inspiration to run stems from Trump escaping accountability for his alleged sexual abuse.
“I think my voice should have been heard then, and I’ll still fight for it to be heard now,” Crooks, 35, tells the magazine. “Americans are really upset with politics as usual, and I want to be a voice for them.”
In the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election, Crooks alleged to The New York Times that when she was a 22-year-old receptionist for a real estate and development firm in Trump Tower, she met Trump at an elevator in the building. She claimed that after introducing herself to Trump they shook hands — but he would not let go, instead kissing her on the cheeks and then on her mouth.
Crooks said the incident felt like a violation and “so inappropriate.”
“I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that,” Crooks told The Times.
Trump has denied all allegations against him, tweeting last year that the accusations are “100% fabricated and made-up charges.” He also called the charges “false allegations and outright lies” while on the campaign trail.
RELATED VIDEO: PEOPLE Writer Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Attack
At the time of the alleged kiss, Crooks told her sister, according to The Times, but didn’t come forward publicly until 2016. Crooks, a Democrat, is the director of international student recruitment at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio. She tells Cosmopolitan that after speaking out in 2016, her activism continued when she took a bus to Washington, D.C., in January 2017 to participate in the Women’s March. In December, Crooks and other Trump accusers called on Congress to investigate their claims of Trump’s sexual misconduct.
Now, Crooks tells Cosmo, she is taking more direct action.
“I think there will be a lot of people who see value in [my campaign],” Crooks says. “But I hope more so because I’m a viable candidate rather than a participant in the #MeToo movement.”
Crooks is a first-time candidate running, with the backing of the Ohio State Democratic Party, in Ohio’s 88th district, a rural area in the northwestern part of the state. She pledges to help create more jobs, ensure access to affordable health care, and fix the state’s education system, according to Cosmopolitan.
If Crooks wins the May primary, she’ll face a two-term Republican incumbent. While the district went for Trump in 2016, Crooks tells Cosmo she hopes to flip it given Trump’s “erratic and ineffective” presidency, as well as with the help of “the surge of political activism in the wake of his election.”