The New Haven Register is calling upon Connecticut State Rep. Ernest Hewett (D-New London) to resign from the legislature following suggestions from other lawmakers that he has a history of inappropriate behavior toward women.
Hewett was stripped of his post as Deputy House Speaker last week by House Speaker Brendan Sharkey (D), after he was caught on tape making a lewd remark to a 17-year-old intern from the Connecticut Science Center. The young girl said that, through her work at the science center, she had overcome her fear of snakes, to which Hewett responded, “And if you’re bashful, I’ve got a snake sittin’ under my desk here.”
Though Hewett clumsily apologized for the remark by stating he is always coming up with “crazy analogies,” two other legislators have suggested that he has exhibited inappropriate behavior in the past.
In addition, Hewett himself said:
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. … 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.
According to the Register:
Fellow legislators say it’s “not the first time” they’ve witnessed Hewett behaving badly.
Saying something so dumb and so offensive in such a public setting indicates a few things. One is that this person has likely subjected women to worse in private. Two is that there’s a mindset there that’s bound to emerge at some point.
As the Register observes, both Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-WFP) and House Speaker Sharkey have refrained from urging Hewett to step down from the legislature. The editorial challenges:
We dare them to keep a straight face and suggest that they wouldn’t be if Hewett was a Republican.
Andrew Doba, Malloy’s spokesperson, said, “The Speaker’s decision was appropriate and I’m sure the Representative regrets the comments.”
State Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. initiated an online petition Monday to press for Hewett’s resignation. The petition indicates that 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.”