HARTFORD, Conn. - A five-time Connecticut state representative issued an apology and was stripped of his leadership post for what some people construed as a lewd remark to a teenage girl.
“If you’re bashful I got a snake sitting under my desk here,” State Rep. Ernest Hewett, D-New London, can be heard telling a 17-year-old girl during a Feb. 20 committee meeting.
The teenager had just testified in support of more funding for the Connecticut Science Center’s ambassador program, according to ABC News.
She had told lawmakers that by participating in the program, which included handling snakes and turtles, she became more outgoing.
Hewett lost his role on Friday as deputy speaker of the House, but told the Hartford Courant that he would not step down from his seat. He’s been a member of the state House for eight years.
Hewett also told the Courant that he had no history or problem with women, but did not want a female intern in his office.
“I purposely will not have female interns,” he told the Hartford paper. “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."
Hewett also told the paper he went several years without an intern because he only wanted male interns, and couldn’t control who was assigned to him.
“They may give me a female, but I don’t want a female intern,” he told Courant staff . “That may sound sexist, but I really don’t. That way that keeps me good, and that keeps everybody else good.”