The following statement was released by state Rep. DebraLee Hovey in response to public Facebook comments she posted last Friday about former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords visiting Newtown:
“The remarks I made regarding Congresswoman Gifford’s visit were insensitive and if I offended anyone I truly apologize,” Rep. Hovey said. “My comments were meant to be protective of the privacy of the families and our community as we work to move on, and were in no way intended as an insult to Congresswoman Giffords personally. Our community has struggled greatly through this tragedy, and we are all very sensitive to the potential for this event to be exploited for political purposes. This is what I wish to avoid.”
Rep. Hovey, who was in Florida attending a Board meeting of the Women in Government national organization during the Giffords visit, has been a strong advocate for her district and has called for a dialogue on mental health issues, improving school safety and gun control.
“The events of December 14th affected all of us deeply and like many others I am still working through my grief and trying to come to terms with what happened, how we as a community and a state move forward and how we can prevent horrific events like this from occurring in the future,” she said. ”My deepest condolences continue to go out to the families, the community of Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown and Connecticut.”
When asked about Hovey’s comments about Giffords at a press conference Monday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said they were “impolitic.” He said that just as he doesn’t “own the state” and can’t tell anyone to keep out of it, the same applies to what Hovey had said. “Nobody has the right to say that kind of thing,” Malloy said.
Malloy said that by issuing an apology, Hovey had done the “appropriate” thing.