Democrat snake handler loses gig

gleet

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Jul 24, 2005
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I got your snake... right here.
Hewett defends comment, says he won't resign

By Johanna Somers
Publication: theday.com
Published 03/01/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 03/01/2013 06:57 PM
Rep. Ernest Hewett, who was removed as deputy speaker this week after making what some saw as an inappropriate comment to a teenager, defended himself Friday.
“I have been disciplined and I haven’t even had due process,” said Hewett, a New London Democrat.
During a Feb. 20 Appropriations Committee hearing,
a female 17-year-old ambassador for the Connecticut Science Center asked the committee to continue funding the center’s ambassador program.
During her speech, she said the program helped her overcome her shyness and get over her fear of snakes.
According to an audiotape of the hearing, Hewett said: “If you’re bashful I got a snake sitting under my desk here.”
On Friday, Hewett said, “If she had said elephants, I would have said elephants.”
He dismissed Republican calls for his resignation.
“I plan to stay in my job and represent the city of New London. Resign, not in my life,” he said.
He said he was 56 years old and doesn’t have a blemish on his record, and “you are going to persecute me for sexual innuendo?” he said.
Most members of the southeastern Connecticut delegation agree with the House speaker's decision to strip Hewett of his deputy speaker title, but state Rep. Edward Moukawsher came to Hewett's defense on Friday.
Moukawsher, D-Groton, said he has worked with Hewett, a New London Democrat, for 10 years and that he has always been very encouraging to young people.
"The last thing he meant to do was in any way make a comment that was lewd," Moukawsher said. "I am disappointed that those who know him and serve with him have not stood up for him."
State Reps. Tim Bowles, D-Preston, Ed Jutila, D-East Lyme, Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, and Betsy Ritter, D-Waterford, said they agreed with the decision of House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden.
"I still think that the speaker handled the situation appropriately," Jutila said. "I think he is paying a big price by losing his assignment as deputy speaker. He is embarrassed obviously, he is clearly remorseful and he has apologized to everyone."
Urban said addressing sexual harassment at the state Capitol was long overdue and that there is a deeper problem.
"There are incidents of this, not as obvious and as public as this one was," she said. "And I think we need to re-evaluate the way we treat each other in the General Assembly."
Moukawsher said the decision to strip Hewett of his title happened too quickly. Moukawsher said he didn't know what pressures the speaker was under but that he didn't support Sharkey's decision.
"We are a caucus, we know each other," he said. … "I am sure the speaker didn't want the perception of what people heard, of what Ernie said, to reflect badly in his caucus. And I think we need to stick up for each other when he didn't do anything wrong."
Moukawsher said that Hewett was responding to what the girl had said. She said that she had been a shy person and that she had overcome a fear of snakes.
"What he was saying was, well your shyness was just as much a reality of me having a live snake under his desk," Moukawsher said.
He only mentioned it because she had testified about the snakes. "There was nothing to it," Moukawsher said.
After hearing Hewett's remark, Darrell West, vice president of governance studies at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C., said how it's important to consider how others interpret the comments.
"Any reasonable person would interpret what he said as offensive. It doesn't matter what he intended, it's what he said and how others interpreted it," he said.
He said it was a pretty "clear-cut situation" and that because it was caught on audio it makes it even more definitive.
"It's a serious situation because it is such a rude comment and to make a comment, to make a statement, like that in an open public meeting makes it even worse," West said. "It's not like it was a private conversation."
West said he thought stripping Hewett of his deputy speaker title was appropriate. He said it was good that Hewett apologized and that if he were to go back on that apology he would lose whatever "brownie points" he had accumulated.
"People in this situation have to demonstrate through their actions that they really got the message and are working to do better in the future," he said. "So it depends on how he reacts as well as how other people react to him."
Connecticut Republican party chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said today that Hewett should resign.
"I urge Rep. Hewett to save the legislature some valuable time and make the decision to step down himself," Labriola said in a press release.
This incident and the level of punishment damages the reputation and credibility of the Democratic legislative leadership, he said.
"Representative Hewett's offensive remark was a disgrace and an embarrassment," Labriola said. "The fact that it was made to a 17-year-old intern visiting the state Capitol to attend a public hearing sends an absolutely atrocious message."
He said House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden only gave Hewett a "slap on the wrist."
"The legislature has at its disposal a number of ways to sanction representative Hewett, ranging from an official censure to calling on him to resign," he said.
http://www.theday.com/article/20130301/NWS12/130309988/-1/NWSlatest
GTR:
 

Neon

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I seriously doubt he meant it that way. It was one of those things you say and then go "wow, that sounded really wrong."
 

Hog's Big Ben

Getting ass-***** in The Octagon, brother.
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#3
I seriously doubt he meant it that way. It was one of those things you say and then go "wow, that sounded really wrong."
Obviously he didn't mean it that way, or he never would've actually said it. That's just way too far over the line. He still deserves a beating for being stupid enough to say it, though. Same as the "chink in the armor" guy. Obviously nothing was meant by it, but you still have to be smart enough to not say it.
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
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#4
During her speech, she said the program helped her overcome her shyness and get over her fear of snakes.
Did she ever stop to think whether or not she needed to get over her fear of snakes? There's a reason she was afraid of them... because snakes are monsters. It's not like a fear of public speaking or flying... I'm pretty sure you can live a full and healthy life while being afraid of snakes.
 

JonBenetRamsey

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Aug 30, 2005
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#5
Did she ever stop to think whether or not she needed to get over her fear of snakes? There's a reason she was afraid of them... because snakes are monsters. It's not like a fear of public speaking or flying... I'm pretty sure you can live a full and healthy life while being afraid of snakes.
the fear of snakes has probably saved more lives than not being afraid of snakes.
 

DanaReevesLungs

I can keep rhythm with no metronome...
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Jun 9, 2005
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#6
It's that Alabama black snake she really needs to fear.

 

DR. Jimcy M.E.

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If it was a white guy I could accept it was a corny stupid mistake but black guys never give up a chance to talk about their dick. It's science.
 

bill333

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#8
To be fair, he didn't say "If you're bashful, I have a Mississippi Black Snake sitting under my desk here."
It was a public hearing, for fuck's sake. If he said it privately, then I would say it was probably said with sexual undertone, not the other way around. Just about anything can be interpreted in a wrong way, if you look for it. That's the problem with this. The statement in itself is not bad, it's when you look at it in a sexual connotation, it becomes that way. His apology, to heal everyone's feelings, should have been the end of it

Well, he's a Dem. so he knows now what it's like to be sought after for PC speech
 

gleet

What's black and white and red all over?
Jul 24, 2005
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#9
Then he stood up to reveal how he carries two cups of coffee and 8 donuts at once.
 

tattered

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To be fair, he didn't say "If you're bashful, I have a Mississippi Black Snake sitting under my desk here."
It was a public hearing, for fuck's sake. If he said it privately, then I would say it was probably said with sexual undertone, not the other way around. Just about anything can be interpreted in a wrong way, if you look for it. That's the problem with this. The statement in itself is not bad, it's when you look at it in a sexual connotation, it becomes that way. His apology, to heal everyone's feelings, should have been the end of it

Well, he's a Dem. so he knows now what it's like to be sought after for PC speech
The line is a fine specimen of Alabama black snake