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."