House Speaker Jeff Hoover has submitted a letter of resignation and will officially step down from the speakership after saying he wouldn’t do so last week. Capitol reporter Ryland Barton says Hoover will keep his seat in the state House of Representatives amid sexual harassment allegations.
Hoover delivered a fiery speech denying that he sexually harassed a staffer and accusing Gov. Matt Bevin and fellow lawmakers of spreading “lies from hell.” “He said we were sexually involved. He said that we were texting when this staffer was a teenager. Ladies and gentleman, I will tell you and I will tell this governor, those are lies from the deepest pits of hell,” said Hoover
First reported by Courier Journal, Hoover, three other Republican lawmakers settled a confidential sexual harassment complaint filed by a staffer last fall.
Hoover has admitted to exchanging inappropriate text messages with the staffer, but denied sexually harassing her or having sex with her.
Bevin called for all lawmakers involved in the scandal to resign their elected positions.
Jeff Hoover’s decision to step down as House Speaker brought quick reaction from lawmakers. Representative Mary Lou Marzian believes his decision helps the House move forward, but the Louisville lawmaker is still concerned. “He said he had 500 letters and emails and texts of support, so I’m wondering: Is sexual harassment not serious that so many people would support him,” said Marzian.
Hoover has denied sexual harassment, but said he sent inappropriate, but consensual, text messages to a woman who once worked for the House Republican Caucus.
In the state Senate, President Robert Stivers said he felt sorry for all involved, adding it was the appropriate for Hoover to step down from his leadership position. Jessamine County Senator Tom Buford said Hoover did the honorable thing. “I don’t know that there’s been a crime committed. You have to be sympathetic with his views, but on the other hand, it was holding up progress in the House, he realized that and he has stepped down. So I’d have to thank him for that,” noted Buford.
Buford added Hoover’s resignation is difficult, calling him the natural leader in House who knows the system well.
He has not resigned his legislative seat.