State Rep. Ernest Hewett, a Democrat from New London, lost his position as deputy speaker of the state House of Representatives Wednesday after a comment he made to a teenaged girl, who was testifying at a public hearing, was deemed to be offensive.
According to multiple news sites, the 17-year-old was testifying to the Appropriations Committee on Feb. 20. She was there to support funding 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 Hartford Courant Thursday, he said into the microphone: "If you're shy, then I have a snake under this desk."
After hearing a recording of the comment, House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, removed Hewett's title Wednesday and the extra $6,446 it paid (He earns $28,000 as a state legislator), the Courant reported.
The story was first broken by the Connecticut Post online Thursday.