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Esty Says She Will Not Resign Over Former Staff’s Alleged Sexual Misconduct

Carolyn Kaster

Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, D-CT5, says she has no intention of resigning from office. The third-term Democrat is responding to calls made in the past few days by prominent state Democrats, who want Esty to resign because of the way she handled sexual harassment allegations made against her former chief of staff.

The first Democrat to call for Esty to resign was State Senator Mae Flexer of Killingly. She has been a strong advocate for strengthening Connecticut’s sexual harassment laws. She says Esty’s failure to deal with the sexual harassment issue in her office in a timely manner hurt the cause of women who courageously come forward. Flexer says it’s time for Esty to step aside.

Other Democrats in the General Assembly have joined the call. They include State Senate Democratic President Martin Looney of New Haven, State Senators Paul Doyle of Wethersfield and Cathy Osten of Sprague, and State Representatives Diana Urban of Stonington and Kelly Jules-Scopino of Manchester. Susan Bysiewicz, a former secretary of the state who’s now exploring a run for governor, also called for Esty’s resignation.

Democrats criticizing Esty but not calling for her to resign include U.S. Senators Richard Blumethal and Chris Murphy, as well as U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Governor Dannel Malloy. Esty released a statement on Saturday saying she had no intention of leaving Congress. On Monday morning, she sent a letter to the House Ethics Committee calling for an expedited and full inquiry into whether any laws or standards of conduct had been violated.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
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