Category Archives: Elizabeth Esty

STEM Bill Championed By Esty Clears the House

by Categorized: Education, Elizabeth Esty Date:

By Matthew Q. Clarida

A bill co-authored by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th district) which would increase federal support to teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, passed the House of Representatives on Monday.

The act, which Esty put forth along with Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) continues existing STEM support from the federal government, expands some grants to a larger population of eligible teachers, and mandates that computer science education is funded by at least some of the awards.

The current iteration of the bill, if approved by the Senate, will direct money not only to classrooms and teacher training programs but to museums and science centers as well.

“I’m very proud our commonsense bill passed today,” Esty said in a press release from her office. “The STEM Education Act represents a crucial step forward for our students and teachers, and for institutions like the Connecticut Science Center. The support the bill provides will empower us to continue—and expand—our work to advance STEM education throughout our state.”

The bill passed the House with no votes against.

Esty, House Dems Introduce Legislation In Response to Hobby Lobby

by Categorized: Elizabeth Esty Date:

Democrats in Congress announced Wednesday they are filing legislation in an attempt to undo the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that certain companies can deny workers’ contraception coverage on religious grounds.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the court ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law passed by Congress in 1993. Esty, who criticized the Hobby Lobby decision, said Wednesday that she co-authored the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014.

The bill prohibits for-profit employers from denying federally mandated health services by exempting such services from the RFRA. Houses of worship and religious non-profits who do not wish to provide contraceptives would still be exempt from the mandate.

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing and advocating for legislation that will reverse the Supreme Court’s misguided ruling and ensure basic protections for women’s health,” Esty said.

Identical legislation is being introduced in the Senate.

Greenberg slams Esty on Mailers

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Elizabeth Esty, Mark Greenberg Date:

Republican Mark Greenberg says his 5th District Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, is squandering taxpayer money by spending more than $200,000 on mailers in less than two years.

“Elizabeth Esty is once again showing her disdain for the taxpayers in the 5th District,” Greenberg said in a press release. “Even though she has served less than two years in office, Esty has quickly mastered the art of exploiting taxpayers for political purposes, in this case by spending the outrageous sum of more than $200,000 on mailers touting her so-called accomplishments. The citizens of the 5th District would have been far better served if Esty had spared them the costs of sharing her record.”

The franking privilege is a key congressional perk; it allows members to allocate part of their budgets to send mail to constituents, provided the mail pertains to official government business. All of the mass mailings are required to contain a disclaimer explaining that it was sent at taxpayer’s expense. Also, each member must disclose on a quarterly basis the number of mailings sent as well as their costs, according to the Committee on House Administration, which oversees congressional franking privileges.

Esty, a who is nearing the end of her first term in office, said the $208,899.27 worth of mailings, were vital to keep constituents informed of what is happening in Washington.

“My office is here to cut through red tape to help folks receive the benefits they have earned and better understand the federal programs that are available to help their families,” Esty said via email. “I’ve heard time and time again from veterans who called in for assistance with backlogged VA benefits or seniors who are waiting for their delayed Social Security benefits that they just didn’t know what a Member of Congress could do to help until they read a newsletter I mailed, joined a ‘Congress on Your Corner’ I hosted in their community, or participated in a telephone town hall I conducted. I strongly believe in actively communicating and getting feedback from the families I have the honor of representing. That’s what it means to be a ‘representative,’ and I take that responsibility very seriously.”

Her spokeswoman, Laura Maloney, said all franked communication undergoes “a rigorous vetting and approval process by a bipartisan committee.”

Greenberg maintains such mailings are a waste of taxpayer money. “Rep. Esty should foreswear any future such mailings,” he said. “To spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on thinly-disguised re-election mailers is a great example of why Washington is broken.”

Greenberg said he backs a bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Rob Woodall of Georgia and Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois that would end franking privileges for members of Congress. The bill is backed by the National Taxpayers Union.

Newtown to Receive Department of Justice Grant

by Categorized: Chris Murphy, Elizabeth Esty, Newtown Date:

Newtown is getting a $7.1 million federal grant to fund new mental health services for those affected by the December, 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The grant, from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, will pay for long-term mental health counseling for families, law enforcement and first responders. A portion of the funds will be set aside for school safety measures.

The funds will go to the Connecticut Office of Victim Services, which is part of the state Judicial  branch. The money will then be dispersed to the town of Newtown, and other organizations that serve the community, including Newtown Youth and Family Services, St. Rose of Lima Church, the Newtown Resiliency Center, Wellmore and the United Way of Western Connecticut.

“This grant will provide much-needed relief and support for Newtown to help this brave community heal,” said U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who announced the news Tuesday morning.

“The community of Newtown has faced unimaginable tragedy with incredible strength and resiliency. Survivors, families, law enforcement, and first responders deserve sustained counseling services and enhanced school safety resources, and I’m grateful to the Department of Justice for responding with continued support,” said Esty, whose district includes Newtown. “The leadership shown by First Selectman Pat Llodra, town officials, the courageous families, and community activists inspire us and the nation.”

Newtown Youth and Family Services has seen a rise in demand for mental health counseling in the aftermath of the shootings, said Executive Director Candice Bohr. “Since the tragedy, NYFS has increased its staffing capacity and has witness the client population quadruple in the last 18 months,” she said. “We anticipate seeing a continued need in services and funding related to mental health, and we are committed to providing the continued support the town, the school district, and the families of the community need.”

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said the nation has a responsibility to help the people of Newtown recover. “But while this grant will go a long way to help the people of Newtown, they will continue to need our support in the coming months and years,” he said.

Last year, Newtown received a $1.5 million grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Newtown Public School District received $3.2 million through the U.S. Department of Education’s School Emergency Response to Violence program.


Esty, Himes Critical of “Inadequate” Transportation Infrastructure Act

by Categorized: Elizabeth Esty, Jim Himes Date:

Reps. Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty are speaking out against the Transportation, Housing & Urban Development Appropriations Act, which is expected to be voted on Tuesday night.

The two Democrats from Connecticut say the measure does not adequately fund the nation’s transportation needs.

“This bill is not just bad policy but it is a danger to the safety and economic health of my constituents and to all Americans,” Himes said in a statement. “I’m tired of my constituents having their personal lives damaged, having their safety put at risk, and having their businesses jeopardized because we have not invested enough in our infrastructure.”

On the floor of the House earlier today, Esty said the bill short-changes much-needed highway and rail repairs.

“We need to get serious about investing in our highways and rail infrastructure. Just last Friday, the railroad bridge in Norwalk, Connecticut, failed, stranding thousands of passengers, including our colleague, Congressman Jim Himes,” Esty said. “The bridge–which was built in 1896–is now 118 years old and in desperate need of repair…We should not have to wait until the bridge falls down or the train derails to repair our country’s infrastructure.

“Until we do our job together in this body and fully fund the Department of Transportation, our bridges and roads will continue to fail,” Esty added. “These are, indeed, tough budgetary times, but we must fund our transportation and housing programs to protect and to serve the constituents we represent.”

Esty was also critical of reductions to housing programs contained in the bill, including a $40 million cut in the lead paint reduction program and other cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s low-income housing program.



Rep. Esty: Rock Cats Should Stay in New Britain

by Categorized: Elizabeth Esty Date:

Looks like there’s an inter-city battle brewing over the Rock Cats. Hartford is trying to lure the minor league team away from New Britain with the promise of a new, $60 million stadium.

Not surprisingly, Rep. Elizabeth Esty is siding with New Britain, which is squarely within her district.

US Rep. Elizabeth Esty with the Rock Cats mascot (courtesy of Esty's twitter feed)

US Rep. Elizabeth Esty with the Rock Cats mascot (courtesy of Esty’s twitter feed)

“For twenty years, families have come to New Britain Stadium to watch the Rock Cats,” the Democrat from the 5th District said in a statement. “We are proud of our team and what it brings to our community. The Rock Cats should stay at home in New Britain.”

Earlier today, Esty tweeted:

Its National Hug a Cat Day. Let’s make sure we #KeepTheCats in Hard Hittin’ #NewBritain and the Fightin’ 5th! #CT05


— Elizabeth Esty (@Elizabeth_Esty) 

Esty, Greenberg Tangle Over Ryan Budget

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Elizabeth Esty, Mark Greenberg Date:

Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty and her Republican challenger Mark Greenberg are sparring over Thursday’s budget vote in the House.

Esty, a freshman from Connecticut’s 5th District, voted no on the fiscal 2015 spending plan put forth by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin. Ryan’s budget cuts federal spending by $5 trillion and includes sharp cuts to Medicaid and other health-care programs.

In a statement, Esty outlined her opposition to what she called Ryan’s “harmful, bad-faith budget.”

“It would break our commitments to seniors by ending Medicare’s guaranteed benefits and would increase out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and preventive care. The Ryan budget also slashes investment in education and limits our ability to improve our roads and rail infrastructure. And it keeps incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas while forcing middle-class families to pay more,” Esty said.

Greenberg lashed out at Esty, saying the Democratic spending plan she backs “continues [a] pattern of irresponsible spending and back-breaking tax increases.”

The Democrats’ plan would boost spending by $740 billion, Greenberg said in a press release. “Does Esty stand with her DC allies or the people in the 5th District who continue to suffer? I call on her to reject this type of tax and spend budget,” he added.

Asked which budget Greenberg would support, his campaign manager Bill Evans said: ” Mark is not a member of Congress and can’t commit to voting for a bill he has not read.  I can say that he wouldn’t support the plan being advanced by Esty’s colleagues because it raises taxes and balloons spending.”

New Greenberg Web Ad Highlights His Biography

by Categorized: Elizabeth Esty, Mark Greenberg, Obamacare Date:

Mark Greenberg, a Republican running for Congress in the 5th District, has a new web ad out. The one-minute, 15 second spot is heavy on biographical details, highlighting Greenberg’s record as a businessman and community leader who founded an animal rescue facility.

The spot never mentions Greenberg’s Democratic opponent, U.S. rep. Elizabeth Esty. But despite the ad’s soft tone, it does spend a few seconds slamming Obamacare and reiterating Greenberg’s pledge to repeal it.


Blumenthal, Esty Push for New E-Cigarette Regulations

by Categorized: Elizabeth Esty, Richard Blumenthal Date:

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty came to the state Capitol complex Monday morning to press for new regulations on electronic cigarettes.


Specifically, the two Democrats from Connecticut are pressing for passage of legislation that would prohibit advertising and marketing e-cigarettes to children and adolescents. They were joined by representatives from several public health non-profit groups, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Lung Association.

“E-cigarettes are simply the device du jour for nicotine delivery by Big Tobacco,” Blumenthal said. “They are very simply, for young people, a gateway to tobacco smoking.”

E-cigarettes are battery-operated, smoke-free devices, some of which deliver nicotine in the form of an inhaled aerosol.

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DeLauro, Esty Ask Hagel To Terminate DoD Contract With Russian Arms Dealer

by Categorized: Elizabeth Esty, Rosa DeLauro Date:

U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Elizabeth Esty on Wednesday wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asking him to use President Obama\’s Ukraine sanctions to terminate a contract with a Russian arms dealer.

The Department of Defense purchases helicopters from Rosoboronexport. In the letter, initiated by DeLauro and Esty and signed by three other representatives from both sides of the aisle, the members of congress say that the executive order signed by the president Monday subjects to sanction companies operating in the Russian arms sector.

\”Given Russia\’s recent escalation of the crisis in Ukraine, current contracts with the Russian arms dealer must be terminated as well,\” the letter said. \”We strongly urge you to cancel contracts with Rosoboronexport for the delivery of Mi-17s to the Afghan National Security Forces, for supplying spare parts or for the sustained  maintenance of these helicopters.\”