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U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty to leave Congress at end of term

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U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty, who is facing calls to resign amid criticism over how she handled a sexual harassment complaint, announced on Monday that she will not seek re-election.

“Too many women have been harmed by harassment in the workplace,” Esty, a Democrat from Connecticut, said in a statement. “In the terrible situation in my office, I could have and should have done better.”

As a result, Esty said she will leave Congress when her term ends in January.

“To the survivor, I want to express my strongest apology for letting you down,” she said, adding that employees need stronger protections in the workplace. “In my final months in Congress, I will use my power to fight for action and meaningful change.”

Esty has faced calls to resign since it was revealed that she kept her chief of staff, Tony Baker, on the payroll for three months after learning of allegations of sexual harassment. Baker has denied the allegations.

As part of a severance agreement, Baker received about $5,000 in taxpayer money when he was fired. Esty, who is an outspoken advocate for the #MeToo movement, also signed a nondisclosure agreement and agreed to write a reference letter despite the allegations.

Esty has served as the Representative from Connecticut’s 5th district since January 2013. Prior to that, she served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 2009 until 2011.

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