Elizabeth Esty

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Elizabeth Esty
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Chris Murphy
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
from the 103rd district
In office
January 7, 2009 – January 5, 2011
Preceded by Al Adinolfi
Succeeded by Al Adinolfi
Personal details
Born Elizabeth Henderson
(1959-08-25) August 25, 1959 (age 59)
Oak Park, Illinois
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Daniel C. Esty
Residence Cheshire, Connecticut
Alma mater Harvard University (A.B.)
Yale Law School (J.D.)
Religion Congregationalist
Website Representative Elizabeth Esty

Elizabeth Henderson Esty (born August 25, 1959) is the U.S. Representative for Connecticut's 5th congressional district, having been elected on November 6, 2012 and reelected on November 4, 2014. She is a member of the Democratic Party. Previously she was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, representing the 103rd Assembly District, which consisted of Cheshire and parts of Hamden and Wallingford. She also served two terms on the Cheshire Town Council. The 5th congressional district spans central and northwest Connecticut, including Waterbury, Danbury, New Britain, Meriden, Torrington, Litchfield County, the Farmington Valley, Newtown, and Esty's hometown of Cheshire.

Esty defeated two challengers in the August 14, 2012, Democratic primary to become the Democratic nominee in Connecticut's 5th congressional district, and on November 6, 2012, she defeated challenger Andrew Roraback. Esty defeated Mark Greenberg on November 4, 2014, in the state's most competitive district to win her first reelection.[1]

Early life, education, and career

Elizabeth Henderson was born in 1959 in Oak Park, Illinois.[2] Her father worked as an engineer in a construction company and the family moved numerous times during her childhood. She was raised in Minnesota and graduated from Winona Senior High School. She earned an A.B. from Harvard College in 1981 and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1985. She also studied International Relations at L'Institut d'études politiques in Paris for a year on a Rotary Scholarship.[3] Esty volunteered for Planned Parenthood in college.[4]

Esty has been a law clerk for a federal judge, a Supreme Court lawyer at Sidley Austin LLP in Washington, DC, and Professor at American University. She is a member of the Cheshire Public Library Board, Legal Advisor to the Connecticut League of Women Voters Consensus Project, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the First Congregational Church of Cheshire, lay member of the Committee on Ministry New Haven Association of the United Church of Christ, and a member of the Parent-Teacher Association.[5]

Connecticut House of Representatives


In 2008, she challenged Republican State Representative Alfred Adinolfi of Connecticut's 103rd Assembly District. She defeated him 51%-49%.[6] In 2010, Adinolfi challenged her in a rematch and defeated her 51%-49%.[7]


She opposed Governor Jodi Rell's proposal to eliminate the state’s Office of Consumer Counsel. She cut her own pay by 10%. When aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney closed its Cheshire plant in 2009, Esty was among several politicians who fought to get workers new job placements or early retirement packages. She opposes the death penalty.[8]

Committee assignments

  • Appropriations Committee
  • Energy and Technology Committee
  • Public Health Committee[9]

U.S. House of Representatives

2012 election

In 2012, Democratic U.S. Congressman Chris Murphy of Connecticut's 5th congressional district decided to retire in order to run for the U.S. Senate. Esty decided to run. She was endorsed by EMILY's List.[10] She also won the newspaper endorsements from the New York Times, Hartford Courant and the Torrington Register-Citizen. She defeated Daniel Roberti and State House Speaker Chris Donovan in the primary.

In the November 6 general election, Esty defeated State Senator Andrew Roraback to become the district's next representative.[11] Esty won despite the opposition of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg whose PAC channeled over a million dollars to her opponent.[12]

Connecticut 5th Congressional District 2012 [13]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elizabeth Esty 146,098[14] 51.31
Republican Andrew Roraback 138,637[15] 48.69
Write-In John Pistone 12 0.00
Write-In Russ Jaeger 10 0.00
Total votes 284,757 100.0


Esty introduced the Collinsville Renewable Energy Promotion Act in February 2013 allow the town of Canton, Connecticut to take over two lapsed licenses from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in order to refurbish two old local dams.[16] The dams would be used to produce hydroelectric power.[17]

In May 2013, Esty voted against repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. She then subsequently voted to delay the individual and business mandates in the law by one year.;[18]

Esty co-authored[19] the STEM Education Act (H.R. 5031; 113th Congress) (H.R. 1020; 114th Congress). This bill strengthens science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education efforts and expands the definition of STEM to include computer science.[20] She said that "STEM education is critical to preparing our students for high-demand careers in engineering, manufacturing, and information technology."[21] According to Esty, she frequently hears from "manufactures and small business owners that it's increasingly difficult to find workers with the right skill sets to fill the jobs in demand." The House easily approved this bill with a vote of 412-8[22] and it was signed into law in October 2015.[23]

Committee assignments

Personal life

Rep. Elizabeth H. Esty's official portrait

Elizabeth Henderson married Daniel C. Esty in 1984. Several years later, their first child, Sarah, was born while they were working in Washington, D.C. Elizabeth became a stay-at-home mother. The family moved to Connecticut in 1994 when Dan Esty started the environmental law and policy program at Yale.,[24] before accepting appointment as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection from Governor Dannel P. Malloy in March 2011.[25]


  1. Becker, Arielle Levin; Collins, Melissa. "Esty beats Greenberg in Key 5th District". The CT Mirror. Retrieved 2015-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. [1]
  3. "Redlands Daily Facts Blogs".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Redlands Daily Facts Blogs".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Elizabeth Esty's Biography - The Voter's Self Defense System - Vote Smart". Project Vote Smart.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Our Campaigns - CT State House 103 Race - Nov 04, 2008".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Our Campaigns - CT State House 103 Race - Nov 02, 2010".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Redlands Daily Facts Blogs".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Elizabeth Esty".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. AbLivingston (15 August 2012). "Connecticut: Elizabeth Esty Wins 5th District Democratic Nomination". Roll Call.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Christoffersen, John. "Democrat Esty wins Conn.'s 5th District seat". sfgate.com. Retrieved 8 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Colin Campbell (7 November 2012). "Bloomberg's Super PAC Narrowly Misses Most Congressional Targets". Observer.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. http://www.sots.ct.gov/sots/lib/sots/electionservices/electionresults/2012/2012_election_results.pdf
  14. Includes 8,609 votes received on the line of the Connecticut Working Families Party, which cross-endorsed
  15. Includes 9,710 votes as listed as an Independent on the ballot.
  16. "Elizabeth Esty's first bill, reintroduced Collinsville dams legislation, passes House". The Avon News. February 18, 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "H.R 316 - 113th Congress". United States Congress. Retrieved 12 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Esty Statement on Bills to Delay ACA Penalties for One Year". StamfordPlus.com. Retrieved 7 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Esty bill on tech education passes House". CT Politics. Retrieved 2015-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Smith's STEM Education Act Signed Into Law". Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Retrieved 2015-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Callahan, Molly (15 July 2014). "House passes Rep. Esty's STEM Education Act". My Record Journal. Retrieved 16 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Radelat, Ana. "Esty wins on STEM bill". The CT Mirror. Retrieved 2015-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Plainville High STEM best in state, Esty says". Central Connecticut Communications. Retrieved 2015-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Redlands Daily Facts Blogs".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Department of Environmental Protection (2011-02-10). "DEP: Governor Malloy Selects Daniel Esty to Head Newly Fused Department of Energy & Environmental Protection". Ct.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Chris Murphy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 5th congressional district

January 3, 2013 – present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tammy Duckworth
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Lois Frankel