|"I got a snake sitting under my desk here" - Rep. Ernest Hewett
A 17-year-old girl was testifying before the committee, asking that the committee continue to support the Connecticut Science Center, of which she was recently an intern. During her speech, she said the program helped her overcome her shyness and her fear of snakes. When she was done speaking, Ernest Hewett made the comment, “If you’re bashful, I got a snake sitting under my desk here.”
An audio recording of this exchange can be heard below:
Speaker of the House, J. Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden), said that it hurt him to take away Hewett's title, because he has worked with Hewett for a long time.
Connecticut Republican party Chairman, Jerry Labriola Jr., doesn't believe stripping Hewett of his title is enough, and is calling for Hewett to resign, saying his comment sends an "absolutely atrocious message".
Ernest Hewett has apologized to the young woman, and said, Thursday, that he didn't mean anything sexual, but admitted he could see how someone could take it that way and added: "I have weird ways of getting my point across." Hewett explained his comment by calling it an example of "the kind of crazy analogies I use to try to make a point. Like, sometimes I'll tell someone, 'If you believe that, then I have an acre of land in the Everglades to sell you.' …It came out the wrong way. …It had nothing to do with sex, in my mind, but I can understand how people would think that by hearing it. …In my heart I know what I meant, and it wasn't that."
The teen did not clearly hear the comment and didn’t know it could be perceived as offensive until reading news accounts, according to a statement by Matt Fleury, president and chief executive officer of the science center.
Rep. Hewett also dismissed calls for his resignation, saying “I plan to stay in my job and represent the city of New London. Resign, not in my life,”. He said he was 56 and didn’t have a blemish on his record. “You are going to persecute me for sexual innuendo?”, Hewett added.
It seems Representative Hewett may have a reputation of lewd behavior. When Rep. Mae Flexer (D-Killingly, Plainfield) was asked if she's ever seen anything in Hewett's past behavior that would spark concern, Flexer said "Yes, I have, which is why, unfortunately, the comment he made at the public hearing was shocking but not as shocking as it might of been had it come from someone else."
Rep. Arthur O'Neill, R-Southbury, was at the Feb. 20 hearing and said he was "shocked" by Hewett's comments, however O'Neill said the episode isn't the first time Hewett made a comment that he found questionable. "Rep. Hewett has a little bit of history of saying things... it's not the first time I've seen his behavior raise some doubts in my mind about what his thinking was,'' O'Neill said. Rep O'Neill also stated that an investigation into Hewett’s past behavior might be necessary.
When Rep. Hewett was asked whether he had a history, or a problem, Hewett, attempting to show that he doesn't, in my opinion, showed that he, in fact, does have some serious psychological issues. He began discussing female interns, and why he doesn't like them.
"I purposely will not have female interns. My intern now is a male. I want to keep it like that. I've had female interns in the past that sit in my office all day. I thought it was totally weird and I didn't want another. As a matter of fact, I went four, maybe six years without having an intern at all because of stuff like that. I have a male intern, the last two I've had were male...I don't want a female intern. That may sound sexist but I really don't. That way that keeps me good and that keeps everybody else good.
"Am I guilty of telling someone they look nice? Yes. Am I guilty of telling someone you have nice shoes? Yes."Hewett even brought up his interactions with Represenative Themis Klarides (R-Derby), a former swimsuit model, in his defense, which again, in my opinion, does the opposite, and makes the allegations against Hewett seem true.
"I sat next to Themis Klarides in there today and I always compliment her on shoes, because she always wears nice shoes and I always compliment her on how she looks. If that's sexual harassment, then I'm guilty. Other than that, to walk up to someone or grab a woman by her bottom, her breasts or say I want to do this...no, no, no, no. I won't do that. That's just wrong."In the typical fashion of the politically-correct world we live in today, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, ordered sexual harassment training for all House Democrats who are not in their first or second term, after learning of the comment. In addition, he has invited women members of the 99-member majority caucus to meet with him and Hewett on Tuesday.
In my opinion, this whole situation is ridiculous. Regardless of what happens to Rep. Hewett, he will just get replaced by someone just like him, until a large number of people become aware and concerned about who these people are that are "representing" us. Psychopaths gravitate towards positions of power, and we have to watch the people who have positions of power, in our society. The vast majority of people in the state, and country, could not tell you who their local state representative is, and that is how someone like Ernest Hewett gets elected, and obtains power. I fear that maybe Rep. Hewett actually does represent his voting base, and the majority of people who voted for Hewett think it would be acceptable to speak to a stranger in the way that he did.
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