A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Jeff Hoover resigns as Speaker of the House, will keep his seat in the legislature

Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover announced he will resign as speaker effective immediately but keep his seat in the House at a press conference Sunday afternoon at the State Capitol.

The press conference came 24 hours after Gov. Bevin called for the resignation of anyone involved in secret coverups of sexual harassment.

The Courier-Journal first reported that Hoover settled an allegation by a woman on his legislative staff related to sexual harassment. Reportedly three other legislators and a staff member were parties to the settlement deal.

Hoover said just Saturday night that he had no plans to resign.

“I am more resolved than ever to continue my work as Speaker thru the 2018 session and I will continue to speak out for all Kentuckians on issues of importance,” he said last night.

Today, he spoke briefly to the press then left without taking questions.

He said that to resolve the dispute between the parties, a meeting held as requested by the complainant and that none of the parties against whom allegations were made admitted that any sexual harassment had taken place. The parties reached an accord and agreed it would remain confidential.

“I engaged in inappropriate sex messaging,” Hoover said emotionally, “. . .it was wrong to do that. God, my family, my wonderful wife and my daughters have forgiven me . . I ask for the people of the Commonwealth for your forgiveness.. .

“At no time did I engage in unwelcome or unwanted contact and at no time was there any sexual engagement.”

Calling himself “a sinner saved by God’s grace,” Hoover said, “I can move forward in my life thanks to my family and my friends. . .I have fallen short.”

He said he will continue to hold his seat in the legislature as long as his constituents want him.

“This is more than being about Jeff Hoover,” he said, and added that resigning as Speaker was best for the legislature so that the state could move ahead.

“There are issues facing this state,” he said, issues that need solutions.”

He went on to say that there “were those who had been plotting for months” to remove him as Speaker because he did not always say what they wanted.

“I have spoken out against some of the pension proposals . . .it’s fair to say I’m not the favorite legislator of some in this Capitol.”

But he means to stay in the House and continue to speak up for what he thinks is right.

“What is best for this Kentucky at this time, what is best for this legislature . . .it’s not about Jeff Hoover . . .

“It’s not about me” — that is not fair to the people of this state . . .and it’s not conducive to getting problems solved.”

He left immediately after speaking and did not take questions from reporters.

See KyForward’s earlier story about this issue.

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