U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who serves Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District, has announced that she will not seek re-election this year.
Esty, who was first elected in 2012, came under criticism during the past week for her handling of alleged harassment by her former chief of staff, Tom Baker, against a female member of her office. Esty apologized last week after news reports detailed that Baker remained on the payroll for several months after being made aware of Baker’s behavior, later entering a nondisclosure agreement with him while offering a reference letter. Baker also received a $5,000 severance payment, which Esty said she repaid to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Esty said last week that she had no plans to resign, but criticism from within the Democratic Party continued to mount. In a statement issued by her office, she said it was “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.”
While apologizing to the woman who brought attention to Esty’s protection of Baker, Esty also insisting that she was fighting against workplace harassment. “In Congress, and workplaces across the country, we need stronger workplace protections and to provide employees to raise concerns, address problems, and work to reduce and eliminate such occurrences, in the first place.”