U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty may only have one day on the job, but she will be one of 13 lawmakers to serve in a leadership capacity on a recently formed task force designed to prevent gun violence.
Esty was sworn in yesterday as Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District representative. Her district includes Newtown, where last month a gunman killed 20 first graders and six educators at an elementary school. Esty will be one of 12 vice chairs on the task force to be chaired by U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-CA. She will be the only freshman to serve as a vice chair.
“As the Representative for Newtown and as a mother, I feel a special responsibility to that community and to the parents who have suffered such unimaginable horror. We can’t allow the loss of innocent life we saw in Newtown to happen again,” Esty said in a statement.
Esty said that she has met with law enforcement and first responders as well as mental health professionals and community leaders and is certain Congress must take action. She said that will involve federal gun safety policies and a commitment to mental health services.
“Make no mistake — these are complex and controversial issues — change will be difficult, but there are moments in our nation when things that were deemed to be previously acceptable are no longer acceptable, things that were deemed impossible are now imperative. I’m eager to work with my colleagues on the task force for policies that will reduce gun violence and help keep families safe.”
Thompson said that as Newtown’s representative in Congress, Esty will bring a unique voice to the task force.
“I look forward to working with her and other members of the task force to enact meaningful policies that will help make sure our nation no longer experiences the kind of gun violence we are mourning in Newtown,” Thompson said.
The task force will spend the next month conducting hearings and meetings to listen to experts regarding the best policies to reduce gun violence. They are due to release a set of proposals in early February.