Connecticut Republican party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. on Friday called on state Rep. Ernest Hewett to step down following the New London lawmaker’s controversial comment to a 17-year-old intern during a hearing last week.
Hewett was at an Appropriations Committee hearing room in the Legislative Office Building on Feb. 20, when the teenager testified in favor of funds for the Connecticut Science Center. She said that her work there as an intern had helped overcome shyness and a fear of snakes.
As she finished testifying, the committee’s co-chairwoman, Rep. Toni Walker, D-New Haven, told the girl that she didn’t seem shy. That’s when Hewett chimed in. As he recalled it, in a telephone interview with the Courant’s Jon Lender Thursday, he said into the microphone: “If you’re shy, then I have a snake under this desk.”
Labriola is calling for Hewett to resign, saying his comment sends an “absolutely atrocious message.”
“Representative Hewett’s offensive remark was a disgrace and an embarrassment. 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.