Rep. Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat from Connecticut, announced Monday that she will not seek re-election after The Washington Post revealed that she kept her chief of staff in his position for three months after learning that he allegedly harassed and threatened another staffer.
“I have determined that 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,” Esty wrote in a statement.
“Too many women have been harmed by harassment in the workplace,” the three-term congresswoman continued. “In the terrible situation in my office, I could have and should have done better. To the survivor, I want to express my strongest apology for letting you down. In Congress, and workplaces across the country, we need stronger workplace protections and to provide employees with a platform to raise concerns, address problems, and work to reduce and eliminate such occurrences, in the first place. In my final months in Congress, I will use my power to fight for action and meaningful change.”
Earlier in the day, Esty had asked the House Ethics Committee to look into the incident and determine if she had done anything wrong. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also reprimanded Esty saying: “As Congresswoman Esty has acknowledged, her actions did not protect Ms. Kain and should have." She had previously apologized last week but said she had no plans to resign.
According to the Post, Esty discovered in May 2016 that Tony Baker, then her chief of staff, threatened to kill former colleague Anna Kain. He reportedly remained on the job for three months after Esty discovered the incident. Baker eventually left with a letter of recommendation.
Kain additionally alleged that when she and Baker dated, he punched and sexually harassed her.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, said “Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty’s decision not to run for another term is the right one."