Edward Moukawsher Groton Editor's note: The writer is a state representative for Groton and Ledyard.
The treatment of Rep. Ernest Hewett for his remark to a 17-year-old woman who testified before the Appropriations Committee is completely unfair to him and defies common sense. In her testimony she said she was a shy person who overcame her shyness and fear of snakes. The chair of the committee complimented her on her testimony that belied her expressed shyness. Rep. Hewett followed the chair's remarks, and said "If you're bashful, I got a snake sitting under my desk here." It is absurd to think he was saying anything other than that she had overcome her shyness so well that her bashfulness was as nonexistent as a live snake under his desk.
Rep. Hewett turned on his microphone to speak on the record in a public meeting. This was not an offhand, surreptitious comment but a compliment to a witness following a compliment by the committee chair. His snake reference was prompted by the witness' testimony about snakes. The shame in this situation lies with those who have taken his well-intentioned, innocent remark and through the political prism have distorted it to reflect their own lack of humanity.