Hoover resigns as speaker, but not from House, in speech that rips Bevin for ‘lies from the deepest pits of hell’

Rep. Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown

In an emotional speech on the chamber floor of the state House on Monday afternoon, Republican Rep. Jeff Hoover resigned as Speaker of the House — though adding that he will remain in his seat as a District 83 representative and firing more criticism at those who want him out of the House, such as Gov. Matt Bevin.

Following the revelation in November that Hoover was one of four Republican members to sign a private settlement to resolve a claim of sexual harassment from a legislative aide, Hoover pledged to resign as speaker. However, when the Kentucky General Assembly opened last week, Hoover chose not to resign, though Speaker Pro Temp David Osborne would serve in his place to lead the chamber.

A six-member committee of the House was then formed on Wednesday that could vote to remove Hoover from his seat, though — as Hoover made clear in Monday’s speech — he will not go without a fight.

“I will be back here tomorrow to continue fighting for the people I represent,” said Hoover, adding that he would also fight for “legislative independence, which we are dangerously close to losing.”

Attacking those who he said have plotted against him, Hoover also singled out Bevin, saying that he is guilty of telling “lies from the deepest pits of hell” about him.

Hoover has admitted to sending inappropriate sexual text messages with an aide, but has denied that he was in a physical relationship and did not engage in harassment. Bevin and Rep. Phil Moffett, R-Louisville, have called for Hoover and the three other GOP House members to resign from the General Assembly, calling their presence a distraction from the important work on pensions and the budget that legislators should now be focused on.

In his speech, Hoover noted that no one had filed a pension bill yet, but he would do so tomorrow, “so there can’t be any excuse that Jeff Hoover is a distraction to the legislative process, as (Moffett) wants to get on TV and talk about.”

Republican Party of Kentucky chairman Mac Brown then issued a statement that “this has been a very difficult and emotional time for all concerned. Jeff Hoover has followed through with his word. We now look forward the General Assembly moving on to address the important work ahead of them.”

The committee that will investigate the claims against Hoover met Monday night after his resignation speech, and the RPK’s executive committee is scheduled to met on Saturday to discuss Hoover’s future. In December, Bevin supported a resolution at a RPK meeting calling for the full resignation of Hoover and the other three legislators, but it was voted down and publicly criticized by several Republican House members.

This post and headline have been updated.