Good morning and thank you to Chairman Becerra. Thank you to Vice-Chairman Crowley, and thank you to my good friend Nita Lowey for that kind introduction.
My name is Elizabeth Esty, and I represent Connecticut’s Fifth District. And I also represent in that, the community of Newtown, Connecticut. And I’m serving as one of 12 vice-chairs of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
Our vice-chairs have a wide range of experience that they’re bringing to bear on these important problems and they reflect the diversity of our wonderful House caucus. We are focused on a comprehensive approach that will deal with true gun safety regulations and protect the rights of responsible gun owners, but also deal with mental health issues and most importantly keeping our children and our communities safe. We want to bring unique ideas to the table to work to save lives and keep families safe.
Yesterday we had a very productive meeting with Vice President Biden, along with various members of the cabinet including, Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, and HHS Secretary Sebelius. It was a really productive conversation and I was encouraged, as I think the other members of the task force were encouraged, by their commitment to reduce gun violence in this country and to help our communities.
Over the next several weeks we will be working very hard with a series of hearing and meetings to generate the sorts of solutions that the country deserves to have at this critical time, to meet with different constituencies to get all the best ideas on the table and to present them again to keep our communities safe with a comprehensive set of policies proposals.
And I appreciate the opportunity to be here this morning. I want to say to all Americans: the community of Newtown appreciates your thoughts and prayers. They are going through a very difficult time—our first responders, the teachers, the students—but it is a resilient community just as this is a great and resilient country as we are seeing with Superstorm Sandy. Americans step up to the plate. We get the job done. And I appreciate the opportunity to serve. Thank you very much.