Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Connecticut state representative DebraLee Hovey, whose district includes Newtown, the site of last month's school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, was in Florida last week when some troubling news came to her attention: an out-of-state politico was looking to encroach on her territory, making a media showing of visiting the townsfolk she represents, taking advantage of the tragedy! Now, she couldn't stand for that, and took to her personal Facebook page to make it clear that the visitor wasn't welcome.
The only problem is, the person she was throwing shade was Gabrielle Giffords, who isn't really a politician anymore—and hasn't been since stepping down from her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives last year to work towards her own recovery after surviving an assassination attempt two years ago today.
She went further in the status's comment thread, making her reasoning clear:
Eventually, Hovey appeared to have a moment of clarity (maybe she learned that Connecticut's U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, accompanied Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly—or maybe she just had someone tell her that she done f—ked up): she deleted the post, made her Facebook private and released this semi-apologetic statement (from the Atlantic Wire):
The remarks I made regarding Congresswoman Gifford's visit were insensitive and if I offended anyone I truly apologize ... 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.
Considering that Giffords is a victim of a similarly terrible mass shooting, and considering that she met with the families privately and didn't offer the names of those she visited, it's safe to say that Hovey did offend people; including, I'm willing to bet, a fair number of Tucsonans who may or may not wish for her to 'stay out' of our city.
Now, I'm not saying that folks should let her know that she's not welcome in our cozy little corner of the desert — but if they were so inclined, I would point them to either her contact page, where they can find her office's mailing address and phone numbers (toll-free: 800-842-1423), or her personal Facebook.