A 17-year-old Connecticut Science Center representative was hoping to convince the Connecticut House of Representatives to maintain funding for the center's ambassador program when she testified before the Appropriations Committee on February 20th.

Instead, what she received was a lewd remark from Deputy House Speaker Rep. Ernest Hewett (D).

According to The New London Day, the teen told the committee that the program "helped her overcome her shyness and get over her fear of snakes."

After she was done speaking, Hewett told the girl, "if you're bashful I got a snake sitting under my desk here." (Skip to the end of the audio clip below.)

He was subsequently stripped of his deputy speaker title, but some Democrats have since rushed to Hewett's defense.

Rep. Edward Moukawsher said he'd known Hewett for years and "the last thing he meant to do was in any way make a comment that was lewd." Moukawsher explained that Hewett meant to say that the girl's shyness "was just as much a reality of me having a live snake under his desk."

For his own part, Hewett claims he fumbled his words, and was actually trying to say "if you are shy then I have an acre of land in the Everglades."

Calls for Hewett to resign were heard from Republicans who felt the punishment was not sufficient.

[screengrab via CT House Dems]