senators hecklers Gov. John Carney State of the State

GOP senators: Hecklers, smirking legislators ’embarrassment’

Betsy PriceGovernment, Headlines

senators hecklers Gov. John Carney State of the State

This woman was the first to heckle Gov. John Carney in the middle of this last State of the State speech Tuesday afternoon.

Republican senators said Tuesday they were disappointed at the hecklers interrupting Gov. John Carney’s last State of the State speech  — and even more disappointed in the members of the legislature smirking during the heckling.

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Gerald Hocker

A video shows the first heckler, a woman in the gallery wearing a pink hajib, start shouting and asking for a moment of silence.

As security approached her to remove her from the gallery, she continued shouting over her shoulder.

“Because when we send our children away, it should be an honor defending our country, not to be complicit in genocide,” she said. “Senators, speak up. That’s all I came for. Senators, speak up. Her voice became hard to understand as she was moved along.

“Whether you agree or disagree with what the governor is saying, there’s a certain respect that you should have for the institution that’s here for this building,” said Senate Minority Whip Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown. “And to have certain members of the General Assembly that were smirking in glee that those things were happening is extremely disappointing and it shows you just how far we’ve come as a state, as a society when the chief executive of our state is interrupted five different times with things that aren’t even state issues.”

He and Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, didn’t say who the legislators were.

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Brian Pettyjohn

Pettyjohn said the hecklers, all of whom were sitting upstairs, focused on “what is happening over in the Middle East with Israel and how they were attacked.”

Hocker said the six members of the Senate Republican Caucus had written Carney a note apologizing for the behavior during his speech.

“No one wants to see that,” he said. “That wasn’t the place.”

During a session designed to let the Republicans react to Carney’s speech, Pettyjohn cited the treatment of the governor and a debate in the Senate between Sen. Brian Townsend, D-Newark, and Sen. Erik Buckson, R-Dover, over Buckson’s bill about classroom discipline as an example of a decline in civility.

“You know, the tone in this building today is different than it was when we left here at the end of January.” Pettyjohn said. “It’s going to be a very interesting few months until we get out of session at the end of June. I hope that we can change the tenor around, but we’ll see what happens.”


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