A Lexington lawmaker said published reports of a settlement by Republican House Speaker Jeff Hoover over sexual harassment allegations reflects a legislative culture that doesn’t fully understand the economic power and weight of women.
The Courier Journal reported Thursday Hoover reached a confidential settlement over allegations by a woman who works on his staff. Democratic Lexington Representative Kelly Flood said at times she’s seen a disrespectful attitude toward women in the halls of the capitol.
“I was already aware. I’ve worked up here a long time now. I’ve just seen enough to know, but this does make me sit up in my chair and say ‘Wow’, at the very heart of leadership right now we’ve got misbehavior and payoffs happening,” said Flood.
Flood said sexual harassment concerns cross political party lines.
“It’s not party specific. We know that our own party’s gone through it. We see it in the current party’s leadership. It has to do when there’s simply too many men in the room and not enough women with similar authority. We have to elect more women. We have to do it," she said.
With a pending special legislative session on pension reforms, Flood said she’s not sure what will happen regarding House leadership. Republicans in the House are scheduled to caucus Friday in Frankfort.
Flood said pension benefits for those in hazardous positions like public safety, jobs held primarily by men, are protected while the plan unfairly treats teachers, of whom the vast majority are women.
House Republicans are scheduled to caucus Friday in Frankfort.