Hoover resigns Speaker position, vows to remain in House

Posted November 8, 2017 at 10:20 am

Long-time Kentucky House of Representative member Jeff Hoover, following a week of accusations that included sexual harassment of a staff member, has resigned his position as the Speaker of the House, but vows to remain a member of the House.

“I am announcing my resignation as speaker of the House effective immediately,” Hoover said at a news confearence at the Capitol Annex. “I will continue to serve as state representative for the people of the 83rd District” in south-central Kentucky.

Hoover, an Albany native, has represented Clinton County since first being elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1997.

He currently lives in Jamestown and is a practicing attorney there. The 83rd House District, in addition to Clinton and Russell County, also includes Cumberland County and a portion of Pulaski County.

Hoover became the first Republican Speaker of the House this past January following fall elections that saw the party take the majority in the House of Representatives for the first time since 1921.

On Saturday, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin called for any elected official or staff member who had been involved in the settling of a sexual harassment claim, to “resign immediately.”

Following those comments by the governor, Hoover issued a statement saying he would not resign, either from the House nor from his position as Speaker of the House.

However, on Sunday afternoon, Hoover appeared in front of gathered media and others to announce that he would, in fact, resign from his position as Speaker of the House.

He said that resignation would become effective immediately.

During Sunday’s press conference, Hoover did admit to making mistakes in regards to the allegations of sending inappropriate text messages to a staff member, but he also went on to add that while he was sorry for those mistakes, he denied that at any time did he do anything that should be considered sexual harassment.

“I did make mistakes in that I engaged in inappropriate text messages. I engaged in banter that was consensual. … And for that, I am truly sorry,” Hoover said. “… But as inappropriate as those text messages were, I want to reiterate that at no time – at no time – did I engage in unwelcome or unwanted conduct of any kind. And at no time were there ever any sexual relations.”

The issue that caused Hoover to eventually resign his Speaker of the House position came to light last Wednesday when a report was released by the Courier Journal newspaper that said Hoover had settled a suit with a woman on his staff who had alleged that Hoover had engaged in text messages that she said constituted sexual harassment.

On Saturday, the Courier Journal released another report that there were four others – three additional members of the House of Representatives and a member of Hoover’s staff – involved in the settlement of the suit.

That report stated that in addition to Hoover, Republican Representatives Jim DeCedsare (Rockfield), Brian Linder (Dry Ridge) and Michael Meredith (Brownsville) in addition to Ginger Wills, Hoover’s Chief of Staff, had also been involved in the settlement.

That settlement between the five parties and the staff member who had alleged sexual harassment had been made in a manner that was supposed to remain confidential.

The alleged victim in the suit has not been named in any of the reports.

The Clinton County News attempted to contact Hoover twice concerning the situation, via emails Thursday and again on Monday. Neither contacts were answered by either Hoover or any member of his staff.