Hovey Apologizes for Telling Giffords to 'Stay Out' of Newtown

Rep. DebraLee Hovey originally posted the status Friday in response to former Rep. Giffords' visit, but deleted it Sunday afternoon, the Hartford Courant reports.

NEWTOWN — State Rep. DebraLee Hovey (R-112) just issued an apology for a post she made Friday on her personal Facebook page in which she reportedly wrote, "Gabby Gifford stay out of my towns!!" 

The post, which was captured in a screenshot taken by the Hartford Courant before it was deleted Sunday, was directed at the former United States Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who visited Newtown Friday to meet with some of the families who lost a child in the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"[The Giffords visit] was political," Hovey wrote in a comment on her own post, according to another screenshot taken by The Courant. "The LT Gov was there, Blumenthall was there and ALL political types KNOW it is courteous to let sitting Reps know when another political is in their District. So..... There was pure political motives"

In a statement, released Monday at about 12:30 p.m., Hovey's office noted that the state representative was in Florida attending a Board meeting of the Women in Government national organization during the Giffords' visit.

"The remarks I made regarding Congresswoman Gifford's visit were insensitive and if I offended anyone I truly apologize," 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."

According to representatives from Gov. Malloy's office, Giffords  as well as Lt. Gov. Wyman and Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra, in her Friday visit. Giffords resigned from congress in 2012 after surviving an assassination attempt in an Arizona mass shooting almost two years ago.

Hovey represents Connecticut's 112th district, which includes a portion of Newtown and Monroe — the neighboring town that has opened its Chalk Hill building to house Sandy Hook students for the remainder of the school year.

On Friday, Hovey outlined a four-point "action plan" response to the Sandy Hook shooting, including requests for task forces to investigate violent video games and child and adolescent violence.

"The events of Dec. 14 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," Hovey said. "My deepest condolences continue to go out to the families, the community of Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown and Connecticut."

Alice January 08, 2013 at 03:49 AM
This is appalling. Ms. Hovey's apology is totally insufficient. Ms. Giffords was shot and severely wounded by a mentally ill person who was able to get a weapon similar to the one a mentally ill person in Newtown was able to obtain. There are so many connections and similarities here, it leaves me breathless that Ms. Hovey could call this "political." I hope she is not re-elected.
Alice January 08, 2013 at 04:33 AM
P.S. She is an embarrassment to all of us in Connecticut.
DW January 08, 2013 at 12:15 PM
This *was* a political stunt. Shame on Giffords for using the parents' grief to push a political agenda. What possible comfort could she offer them? As far as similarities goes, be serious. Giffords was shot and survived. She visits parents whose children were shot and *killed*. That's not very similar at all. We need to leave these poor people alone in their grief. Their lives have been destroyed and using them as a photo-op is tasteless.
jungis4545 January 08, 2013 at 03:53 PM
This was indeed nothing but political grandstanding by Giffords, whose only claim to fame is that she got shot in the head. What possible purpose could she have served by visiting the families whose loved opnes were killed, other than to say, "Hey, wow, I got shot, too, but I lived-- tough luck about your kid." What bullstuff.
Alice January 09, 2013 at 12:22 AM
To DW and Jungis4545: have you recently been shot in the head by a mentally ill person wielding an automatic weapon? I don't call this political, I call it personal, and I am grateful that Gabby Giffords has taken it upon herself to try to do something about this scourge on our public safety. We should be grateful to her for coming here (I am) and for her efforts to curb the insanity of gun power available to anyone with the $$ to buy.
jungis4545 January 09, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Alice, anyone's having been shot in the head (or not) by a mentall ill person has little to do with Gabby's presence in your neck of the woods. I'm utterly neutral on the issue of gun control and thus am neither pleased nor bothered by her efforts toward gun control. Whatever her efforts are, however, don't require her trying to garner more sympathy for her own victimhood; indeed, the notion of her, a survivor, attempting to console those whose losses are so profound, leads me again to the inevitable conclusion that she's nothing but just another grandstanding politician. I wonder who paid for her plane ticket? Bet she didn't.
Teresa Simpson January 09, 2013 at 09:12 PM
I heard an interview with Columbine survivors who said it had really helped them to talk to survivors of a shooting in Michigan or WI (I forget---look it up--NPR). these kids were going to Sandy Hook as well, because of their knowledge of how it had helped them. Don't presume to put yourself inside the head of someone who's survived this kind of experience.


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