Rep. Hewitt?—Don’t Care. Guns and Budget?—Care a Lot

The headlines in Connecticut the last few days have been about a misogynistic state representative who made a stupid, offensive comment. This is not to minimize the comment. This is to say that I don’t give a damn whether Rep. Ernest Hewitt stays or goes, resigns or runs again. I care about the anti-gun violence legislation that is flagging in the General Assembly. I care about the state budget that currently is a hot mess. It’s time we got our priorities straight.

As far as Hewitt goes, it is enough for The Shad that state Representative (and Democrat) Mae Flexer says she has heard him engage in what he apparently thinks passes for humor in past. Flexer is everything that’s right with some young politicians—hard-working, honest and trustworthy. If she says Hewitt has been a dirty dog before, then he has.

But the bigger picture here is that the supposed “bipartisan” legislative task force formed after Sandy Hook is getting bogged down in politics. Other states have moved quicker, the governor threw up his hands decided to go it alone, and now even the speaker of the house says he may not sign the emergency certification that would allow proposals to get before the entire General Assembly without the usual committee process. But what is consuming the capitol? The oh-so-important story of how some lame state rep decided to bring the locker room to the hearing room.

In addition, while the good people of the great state of Connecticut decide whether they should sign a petition seeking Hewitt’s resignation, the budget process is getting uglier. Gov. Dannell Malloy’s budget appears to have very little chance of passing, in whole or in part. Mayors and first selectmen hate it. Fellow Democrats in the state Senate and House don’t like it much either. Republicans see political opportunities.

The state’s broke and perhaps we should be spending more time worrying about how our property taxes are going up than whether Ernest Hewitt should take his act elsewhere.

It’s not a surprise to anyone that a delicious, sex-tinged story trumps meaningful policy. But the stakes this time around are too great. Let’s get our eyes back on the ball.