Hoover resigns House Speaker post

Posted January 11, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Hoover Speaks OnFloor 2015.psd

Remains as member of legislature, says Governor’s lies were from ‘deepest pit of hell’

A year after being sworn in as Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, Republican Jeff Hoover has resigned from that position amid allegations that he was involved in a sexual harassment scandal.

Hoover, a Clinton County native who represents Clinton, Russell, Cumberland and a portion of Pulaski County that make up his 83rd House District, did not give up his House seat in the announcement Monday that came in a 22 minute long speech to his fellow Representatives.

A member of the Kentucky House of Representatives since 1997, Hoover had said last November that he would resign his position as Speaker of the House after reports were published that he and three others had been party to a confidential settlement of a lawsuit from a former legislative employee that charged them with sexual harassment.

Throughout the entire ordeal, Hoover has vowed that he did not break the law and while he did admit to exchanging inappropriate text messages with the former employee, he has maintained that those text message exchanges were consensual.

On Monday, during his speech announcing his resignation of the Speaker positions, he maintained that position and in addition, took some very poignant stabs at Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, accusing the governor of spreading lies about Hoover during the ordeal.

“Let me be clear, I made a mistake,” Hoover said during Monday’s speech. “I have admitted in front of 10 television cameras and 20 reporters or so and in front of my family that I sent inappropriate text messages. I did not do anything illegal. I did not do anything that was unethical. I did not do anything that was unwelcome or unwanted and I did not engage in sexual harassment.”

In accusing the Governor of being a party in smearing him with lies in the days following the breaking of the scandal, Hoover said Bevin, also a Republican, had accused him of being sexually involved with the staff member.

“He said we were sexually involved,” Hoover said. “Ladies and gentlemen, I will tell you and I will tell this governor, those are lies from the deepest pits of hell.”

Hoover also accused another former legislative employee of orchestrating the release of information that led up to the scandal becoming public, saying the staff member did so because he did not get a higher ranking job he was seeking after the Republicans gained control of the House last year.

During Monday’s speech, which was carried by Kentucky Educational Television, Hoover told the Chamber how difficult the aftermath had been on him and his family.

He said he became withdrawn from the public during this recent ordeal and had lost 33 pounds during the month that had followed the onset of the scandal.

Hoover also said the turn of events also proved to provide him a wakeup call about his own health issues.

“My faith in the almighty God is stronger than it has ever been in my life,” Hoover said. “The relationship with my wife of 26 years, and she will tell you, the marriage is better and stronger than ever.”

At the close of his speech Monday, Hoover recognized his wife, Karyn, who was seated in the gallery.

“In the gallery today, is the most loving, caring, courageous most forgiving person I’ve ever known, and that is my beautiful wife of 26 years, Karyn,” Hoover said.

But he added that he felt the ordeal would perhaps make him a better person going forward, noting that his relationship with God and his relationship with his wife, had become stronger.

“I believe, Mr. Speaker and ladies and gentlemen, that troubles and difficulties and hardships are sometimes divine appointments from God, because sometimes, He needs to get our attention,” Hoover said. “Just as He did mine.”

Hoover said that he hopes his resignation as House Speaker will help the legislature focus on the problems facing Kentucky, adding that he planned to file a bill aimed at reforming the state pension and addressing that crisis.

“I’m not resigning my position as Representative for my friends and constituents in the 83rd District, and Mr. Speaker, I want to make it clear, I will be back here tomorrow, to continue fighting for the people I represent.”

Hoover added that he hoped to begin addressing the issue of the state workers pension crisis.