Keeping Hoover as speaker a bad idea

Published 1:04 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2018

This newspaper has repeatedly said that former Kentucky Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover was right to resign his speakership and that he should also resign from the legislature.

We stand by those statements and hope he will resign his seat in the General Assembly because we don’t think his actions meet the standards people can reasonably expect from their legislator. Sure, Hoover might have been a capable legislator and an effective speaker, but after it became public that he secretly settled sexual harassment claims – a situation he later owned up to – it was clear he had to resign his speakership.

We believed that was the end of his tenure as speaker. But now, some of his fellow Republicans in the House are saying they want Hoover back as speaker. While it is only a minority of his colleagues who have expressed these sentiments, Hoover technically could get his speakership job back under a plan brought together by some of his allies. Lawmakers say attorneys for the Republican House Caucus have told them Hoover’s resignation is not official because it hasn’t been accepted by the House, which legally doesn’t exist unless they are in session. The session begins Jan. 2.

Email newsletter signup

Theoretically, those hoping to keep Hoover as speaker are arguing that despite announcing his resignation publicly, he simply choose not to do so officially when the General Assembly convenes.

We believe those pushing to restore a disgraced man to the speakership are not looking at the big picture.

Hoover’s actions were shady and a disservice to his family and his constituents. This is a man who went before the public and tearfully said that he did send consensual but inappropriate text messages to a woman who worked for the House Republican Caucus.

These are the actions of a man who did wrong and who finally owned up to it. So, why in the world would his allies want a person with this much baggage to be the leader of the House?

It is a bad idea. Those pushing for Hoover to continue to be speaker would be wise to consider the perception of the party if he were to remain speaker. It would send a message to the people of Kentucky that House Republicans condone this type of behavior. Also, by keeping Hoover as speaker, a black cloud will hover over the legislature during a session when so much needs to be accomplished, such as passing a budget and addressing pension reform. Finally, with all House seats up for election in 2018, keeping a man as speaker who admitted he acted inappropriately with a woman has the potential to draw a lot of votes away from Republican candidates.

The Daily News of Bowling Green