A 17-year-old girl at the receiving end of a strange remark from Rep. Ernest Hewett has accepted an apology from him.
The girl was speaking in Hartford during an Appropriations Committee hearing and was speaking on behalf of one of the youth programs at the Connecticut Science Center and said the program helped her overcome her shyness and her fear of snakes.
"And if you're bashful I got a snake sitting under my desk here," Hewett said during the hearing, which was followed by laughter from the audience.
Matt Fleury, president and CEO of the Connecticut Science Center said he was in the audience with her, her mother and grandmother when the remark was made.
He said the 17-year-old, her family member nor he heard the comment and were unaware that it was even perceived as offensive until reading news reports.
Fleury said he called Hewett, who apologized, and who he believes to be sincere.
The apology was passed along to the girl, and she accepted.
The damage had been done, however, and Hewett was stripped of his title of deputy speaker by Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey.
Hewett told Eyewitness News he meant no harm with his comment, but sees how it could have been misconstrued. He told Eyewitness News that he was sorry for the comment.
In addition, Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. is calling on Hewett to resign, calling his remarks "a disgrace and an embarrassment."
"The Legislature has at its disposal a number of ways to sanction Rep. Hewett, ranging from an official censure to calling on him to resign," he said in a statement. "I urge Rep. Hewett to save the Legislature some valuable time and make the decision to step down himself."
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