HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Rep. Patricia Billie Miller has been appointed as the new deputy speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives.

The Stamford Democrat’s selection was announced Wednesday by House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and takes effect immediately.

She replaces Rep. Ernest Hewett, a New London Democrat who was stripped of the leadership position last month over what some perceived as a lewd remark to a 17-year-old girl during testimony at a budget hearing.

Hewett made reference to “a snake” under his desk as he addressed the girl. The remark was deemed to be sexually harassing by House Democrats, despite Hewett’s assertion that it was misconstrued.

Miller joined the legislature in 2009, and has been active on issues including education, campaign finance reform and strengthening domestic violence laws.


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