Esty won’t seek re-election amid harassment queries
Hartford, Conn. – U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty announced on Monday she will not seek re-election this year amid calls for her resignation over her handling of the firing of a former chief of staff accused of harassment, threats and violence against female staffers in her congressional office.
Esty, a Democrat from Connecticut and an outspoken #MeToo advocate, made the announcement not to seek a fourth term in the November election days after apologizing for not protecting her employees from the male ex-chief of staff.
Since her Friday apology, which came after two news organizations published articles about her handling of the matter, a growing number of fellow Democrats, including the top two in the Connecticut Senate, had urged her to resign.
The congresswoman, who insisted last week she would not resign, said Monday she determined “it is in the best interest of my constituents and my family to end my time in Congress at the end of this year and not seek re-election.” She added how “too many women” have been harmed by workplace harassment.
“In the terrible situation in my office, I could have and should have done better,” she said in a statement.
Esty’s announcement came hours after she asked the House Ethics Committee to review her actions to determine if there was any wrongdoing on her part.
Esty has said she regrets not moving along an internal investigation into the 2016 allegations against Tony Baker, which revealed more widespread allegations of abuse, and regrets providing “even the slightest assistance to this individual as he sought a new job.”
A spokesman for Baker told Hearst Connecticut Media and the Washington Post that he denies some of the allegations.
The 58-year-old Esty was a former member of her local town council in Cheshire and a one-term state representative in the state’s General Assembly before winning her first term in Congress representing the 5th District in 2012. A graduate of Harvard University in 1981, she earned her law degree from Yale Law School in 1985. She is a mother of three and has often spoken about her time at PTA meetings and her children’s soccer matches and hockey games.
Esty won re-election in 2014 and 2016. While Connecticut’s congressional delegation is all Democrats, Esty’s district is considered more evenly divided politically compared with most.
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