Three weeks after the Sandy Hook shootings, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, came to Newtown to help the community heal.
Struggling to walk but sure-footed in her purpose, Giffords met privately with victim’s families to console them in their unimaginable grief. Gabby Giffords is one of those few people who, through personal experience, can actually empathize with the Sandy Hook victims.
Just two years ago during a mass shooting in Arizona she sustained a gunshot wound to the head that left her with impaired speech, problems with vision and a partially paralyzed right side.
Still, with the help of many physical therapists and her service dog Nelson by her side, she continues on and reminds us all that hope and courage will always triumph over violence and hate.
Her courageous visit to Newtown was warmly received, but not by all. While Giffords was meeting with grieving families, state Rep. DebraLee Hovey, an assistant Republican House leader whose district includes part of Newtown as well as all of Monroe, was in Florida broadcasting on Facebook: “Gabby Gifford stay out of my towns!!”
Despite the fact that Giffords’ visit was closed to the press and that it was also attended by Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra, a Republican, Hovey would suggest that it was nothing more than Democrat politics.
Evidentially Hovey felt slighted that she was not invited, so in a fit of megalomania she declared Newtown and Monroe as being “her towns” and ordered Gabby Giffords to “stay out.”
Boorish bullying behavior
Hovey’s statements are in keeping with the boorish bullying behavior that has been part of her camp for some time.
Local residents have seen it before, from the time her husband reportedly stormed into the local Democratic headquarters shouting and knocking over campaign materials, to the time when Ms. DebraLee placed a toilet bowl in the middle of her front yard to intimidate neighbors who had alerted town officials about home improvements she had made without permits and without paying appropriate taxes.
Her “47% moment in time” has been long in coming but now her arrogance has been exposed statewide and even nationally, and has brought embarrassment to our entire community.
Hovey’s pseudo apology was self-serving
In the days following her outrageous Facebook pronouncement, Hovey offered a disingenuous, self-serving pseudo apology that in the opinion of most is unacceptable.
Because Hovey’s actions are so far removed from who we are as a community, she should resign her position as state representative. This is the only appropriate way now for DebraLee Hovey to say “I’m sorry.”
Diane Mellen is a Monroe resident.