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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" (Like former Rep. Giffords, Lt. Gov. Wyman and Sen. Blumenthal are both Democrats.)

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."

Barbara Patterson January 07, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Hovey sounds like a hard-hearted fool who should probably not be holding any kind of position in her town. What a horribly insensitive statement. Giffords has been through this and wanted to help. She's the kind of rep Newtown needs. Maybe Hovey should stay in Florida. Besides, Ms Hovey, Newtown is not "your town". It is the people's town. You don't own it and you should keep your self-serving comments completely to yourself. Let's hope you don't get re-elected.
Vikki Kyrie January 07, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Someone please tell Rep. Hovey that there is a large body of research that has been done over the last several decades that shows absolutely NO connection between violence and movies, TV, music or video games. Spending even a single dime on a "taskforce" looking into any such connection would be a complete waste of effort, resources and budget that would be better spent on healing the community.
wendy lee hewitt January 08, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Totally accurate statistic Vikki!!!!!
Mom of two January 08, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Sounds like Hovey is the one who made this political. Not much insight or compassion on Hovey's part in my opinion. Pretty sad.
Tired of idiots January 08, 2013 at 01:43 AM
"Insensitive" is putting it kindly. Gabby Giffords' presence surely brought comfort to the families. I am amazed by her courage and her strength. DebraLee Hovey, not so much.
George S January 08, 2013 at 03:43 AM
This Hovey character - clearly she's doing the bidding of gun special interests. So I did a quick Google and found she does have an NRA history: 1. the NRA has donated to DebraLee Hovey - http://projects.propublica.org/alec-contributions/candidates/180. Found this one donation without trying; not sure if she's gotten more. But I'd bet yes, because... 2. She's been given A and A- grades by the NRA - http://votesmart.org/candidate/30278/debra-lee-hovey#.UOuUbXd9btw. I'd like to suggest a task force investigating why people who have received NRA donations seem to think that real murders with real guns are so interested in imaginary violence in video games.
John Symon January 08, 2013 at 06:12 AM
Dumb comment. She should call Giffords to apologize. I'm a NRA member, primarily I hunt. Hovey embarses me.
John Symon January 08, 2013 at 06:12 AM
Meant embarrasses me....
Matt Bracksieck January 08, 2013 at 09:23 AM
Not long after the immediate shock and horror of what happened at Sandy Hook wore off did the gun control debate start up again. It is an understandable reaction to try to have some control over what seems like an unfathomable action… to try to wrestle unmanageable grief into something that can be dealt with. My own personal beliefs regarding gun control have been the same long before this tragedy and will remain consistent long after Sandy Hook begins to heal. My beliefs are based on the purpose of the tools available to us. Opponents to gun control will say that a gun is just a tool and so in the hands of the right person it is useful. Guns don't kill people, people kill people and if there was no gun there would just be another way to kill. As a piece of technology, the gun is a tool, but there are a wide variety of guns each with it's own purpose. A hunting rifle may be appropriate in some places as a useful tool, but what is the purpose of the .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle with the extended capacity clip, the 10mm Glock or the 9mm Sig Sauer? Those weapons serve only to kill human beings.
Matt Bracksieck January 08, 2013 at 09:24 AM
Part 2: I read in the New York Times about the weapons carried by the gunman and what he did with the tools legally available to him because his mother was a "gun enthusiast." And I think of the comments I have seen: the man was deranged and would have found another way to kill; if he wanted the guns badly enough, he would have been able to get them illegally; this is the mother's fault for not securing the guns properly; if there was someone armed in the school, maybe this wouldn't have happened. These excuses all seem hollow to me because in the end what is being excused is the right to own a tool with no purpose other than to kill other human beings. Neither do I find any logic in the argument that if we ban guns because people die then we should also ban cars because of the deaths they cause, ban knives because they can be used as weapons, etc. My support for gun control goes back to purpose--there is no purpose for handguns or semiautomatic weapons other than to kill human beings. There is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of gun owners are careful and responsible with their tools. But it is time that we as a society acknowledge that without gun control we are saying that we accept a tool which has no purpose other than to kill other human beings as a normal piece of our society and that this is who we are. It is time to find another hobby.
Lisa January 08, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Giffords does have an agenda. After such an awful loss, who looks to strangers for solace... would be the last place I'd show up.
Chris January 08, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Gabby Giffords is an inspiration for many. She has handled her situation with grace, dignity and compassion. All lessons DebraLee Hovey has yet to learn.
Mark Lurie January 08, 2013 at 04:37 PM
@Matt Bracksieck: You nailed it on right on the head! The only difference between the Bushmaster and the M16 is the selector switch, the Bushmaster is only supposed to fire semi auto. Both weapons can utilize high capacity magazines, both weapons fire the same caliber ammunition (don't confuse .223 cal as a .22, this is NATO Spec 5.56 mm ammunition). In fact, the Bushmaster is made by the same manufacturer as the M16! The NRA wants us to believe that we need to arm ourselves in order to be protected but don't forget the NRA is a business. That is how they stay in business by capitalizing on fear to get people to buy more weapons and support the NRA to protect your rights as a gun owner. If you feel the need to protect yourself, get shotgun. It's clear that no matter how much security you have on these weapons, someone is bound to get a hold of one and kill people. The only way to protect ourselves from future violence of this sort is to remove them altogether. And as for Hovey, her constituents make up a minute fraction of Newtown and doesn't even include Sandy Hook! Political Grandstanding for sure and from Florida? Really? And she is on the NRA payroll! #NoWayNRA!
mimosa January 08, 2013 at 04:53 PM
I'm playing devil's advocate. According to the Register, Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, just launched a gun control non-profit. Could they have visited Newton as a publicity stun?
Lisa January 08, 2013 at 06:17 PM
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/gabrielle-giffords-mark-kelly-launch-gun-control-initiative-in-effort-to-combat-gun-lobby/ Of course it was a stunt. And they were involved immediately after her shooting. This isn't new.
Rosemary C. January 08, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Such a cynic mimosa. If that were the case, they would be in Colorado today. Hovey should resign, she is Newtown's Todd Akin.
mimosa January 08, 2013 at 11:24 PM
The eyes of the world have not been on Colorado for the past month. They have been on Newtown. And yes, I can be cynical. Even though I agree with Giffords, I also believe that she may be using this event to promote her non-profit. Not altogether altruistic...
pam ghaster January 08, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Hovey, what a horrible thing to put on FB. Gabby brings comfort. Gabby brings something that you and I can never understand.........where is your heart? pam ghaster
Lisa January 09, 2013 at 03:38 PM
"Where is your heart"? is exactly the problem here. "Heart" has nothing to do with taking gun rights away from law abiding citizens, or fawning over an advocate of the same, for using her so-called celebrity to "console". What a sad state of affairs when people are so willing to give up such a basic right. We will hear from those when they come to take something you believe is important...
Bodie January 09, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Thanks Matt..........as usual you speak for many of us...........
Rosemary C. January 09, 2013 at 10:05 PM
You lost the election, Lisa get over it. Gabby got shot in the head and you criticize her? Way out of bounds.
Lisa January 09, 2013 at 10:31 PM
LOL! Foolish woman. What's the election have to do with Gifford's promoting her agenda? This woman deserves no more special treatment than anyone whose ever battled back from a horrific head injury. And you "assume" who I voted for because I like guns and freedom? What a joke.
Esmerelda Guggenheim January 11, 2013 at 12:07 AM
Debralee Hovey should resign. Given the magnitude of this tragedy, it is sickening to hear Debralee Hovey turn it into something about "herself." This shows a very egomaniacle shallow person. How sick do you have to be to attack a congresswoman shot in the head, and permanently maimed and suffering? We don't need this "leadership," much less making "proposals" and decisions regarding anything to do with us. This disgusting display is enough to call for her resignation.
Gun Owner January 11, 2013 at 06:16 AM
Lisa. Whatever. Get off the gun soapbox. Many dont want to hear it. We welcome Gabby. Agenda or not. Her life has been turned upside down by guns just like the families in Sandy Hook. And make no mistake about it. The gun killed those poor kids. No other weapon. Not a shotgun or baseball bat or knife or whatever. The busmaster enabled it period. Please be honest with yourself. We need tighter gun control. Signed. A fellow gun owner
Lisa January 11, 2013 at 10:19 AM
Whatever yourself, Gun Owner. Her life was turned upside down by a nut-job,as were the babies and families of Newtown-- period. I will never get off my soap box, just as, I assume, you won't. Oh well..
EH Mom January 12, 2013 at 05:30 AM
DebraLee Hovey has blatantly demonstrated she is not capable of sound judgment or responsible legislative decision making. DebraLee Hovey's nasty, vindictive attitude and continuous irresponsible behavior is NOT what she was elected to do and NOT how Connecticut residents want to be represented. Her spiteful actions have caused an irreversible nationwide view of Ugly shame upon The State of Connecticut. Her lack of remorse in the form of attempted damage control has only caused more pain, anger and disgust to residents than can be endured. She is a hypocrite who has abused her elected position. She has failed to honor her oath in that she, with intention, maliciously spoke for the people of Connecticut and neglected her main duty... representing her constituency. It is Newtown's, Monroe’s, Connecticut’s and our Nation's best interest that DebraLee Hovey resigns immediately. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/debraleehovey/
AHM January 12, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Before clearing her Facebook her New Years resolution was "To be kinder, more thoughtful, and loving to those who try my patience" That didn't go so well.
Bob Ray January 13, 2013 at 06:24 AM
Tom, How could it not be construed as an insult?
Bob Ray January 13, 2013 at 06:40 AM
Lisa why should we give sympathy and applause to the teenage girl shot in the head by the tailaban. She is going to recover fully. Is she just another head injury statistic? By the way her Agenda is Education.
Lisa January 13, 2013 at 02:44 PM
@Bob Sympathy and prayers are certainly in order. Applause and adoration...not so much. Blindly accepting anyone's motives is ridiculous; and anyone who has an opposing opinion being painted as uncaring is unconscionable on so many levels.

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