Elizabeth Esty (D-CT-5)
Elizabeth Esty Congressional Candidate Connecticut District 5
Elizabeth Esty Biography from State of Connecticut
Biography of State Representative Elizabeth Esty
State Representative Elizabeth Esty began serving her first term representing the 103rd Assembly District of Cheshire, Hamden and Wallingford in 2009.
She was appointed by Speaker of the House Christopher G. Donovan to serve as a member of the Appropriations, Energy & Technology, and Public Health Committees.
Rep. Esty is the product of a close-knit family, where hard work, faith, and public service have always been honored. Both her parents are from the Midwest, from families that came to this country for a better life. She was born in Oak Park, Illinois, third of four children. Her father served in the Navy and the family moved numerous times in her childhood for his work as an engineer in a construction company. Her mother stayed home with the four children and was active in church, PTAs, and the League of Women Voters. In addition to his work, her father served in the local church, as well as the Boy Scouts, United Way, and YMCA. Elizabeth graduated from Winona Senior High School in Winona, Minnesota, a small town where her grandfather had helped build locks and dams on the Mississippi River.
Education has always been a high priority in Elizabeth’s family, so it was no surprise that she came to New England for college, graduating from Harvard in 1981. College also introduced her to her future husband, Dan Esty, who sat across from her in Economics class. After studying overseas on a Rotary International Scholarship, she came to New Haven to attend Yale Law School, graduating in 1985. Elizabeth learned about the real workings of the judicial system as a law clerk for a federal judge after graduation. In order to sharpen her skills as an attorney, she joined a private law firm in Washington, D.C. During her years as a private attorney, Elizabeth worked on a variety of legal cases, including many in the U.S. Supreme Court. After her daughter was born, Elizabeth decided to stay home, continuing to do policy work in the health care policy field. Following her longstanding interest in education, she also taught college students at American University.
In 1994, Elizabeth jumped at the chance to move back to Connecticut when her husband started an environmental law and policy program at Yale. They settled in Cheshire with their children Sarah and Thomas, and were soon joined by their third child, Jonathan. Elizabeth quickly became involved in her local church (First Congregational Cheshire), becoming Chair of the Board of Trustees, and also headed the First Church nursery school board. As her children grew older, Elizabeth’s commitment to the community combined with her passion for education led her to extensive involvement in the schools, as a room parent and volunteer, and as an active member of the PTA. Like many parents, her evenings and weekends were soon spent at soccer fields, baseball fields, hockey rinks, and karate studios with her children and their teams.
Following in the tradition of her parents, Elizabeth has continued a commitment to help her community through volunteer service. That has included serving as parent coordinator for several Relay for Life youth teams, legal advisor to the Connecticut League of Women Voters Consensus Project, board member of the Cheshire Public Library, and lay member of the Committee on Ministry for the New Haven Association of the United Church of Christ.
Coming from a long line of hard-working women (one of Elizabeth’s great great-grandmother’s pulled the plow herself when the family had no oxen), Elizabeth embraces this same spirit. In 2004, she spearheaded an effort to reduce community tensions over the education budget by researching property tax reform efforts around the country, and then holding workshops and community forums to find ways to help seniors on fixed incomes afford to stay in the community. That effort led Elizabeth to run for the Cheshire Town Council in 2005. She won with 70 percent of the vote and was re-elected in 2007 by a similar margin.
Elizabeth lives in Cheshire with her husband Dan and her children Sarah (a sophomore at Harvard), Thomas (a junior at Cheshire High), and Jonathan (an 8th grader at Dodd Middle School).
Do you know where you still on the political spectrum? See “Political Beliefs, Where Are You” to find out where you stand.