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. He will keep his seat in the state House of Representatives.
Hoover delivered a fiery speech Monday, denying that he sexually harassed a staffer and accusing Gov. Matt Bevin and fellow lawmakers of spreading “lies from hell.”
“[Bevin] said we were sexually involved. He said that we were texting when this staffer was a teenager,” Hoover said. “Ladies and gentleman, I will tell you and I will tell this governor, those are lies from the deepest pits of hell.”
Hoover has admitted to exchanging inappropriate text messages with the staffer, but denied sexually harassing her or having sex with her.
First reported by Courier Journal, Hoover and three other Republican lawmakers settled a confidential sexual harassment complaint filed by a staffer last fall. Bevin called for all lawmakers involved in the scandal to resign their elected positions.
In November, Hoover said he would resign the speakership but last week said he was only temporarily relinquishing the position while investigations into the matter transpired.
Then on Monday, Hoover took to the House floor to once again deny the allegations.
He said he reconsidered his initial decision to resign after encouragement from fellow lawmakers to “stand up to the bullying and to the intimidation that’s going on.”
“I knew that the governor was already calling members of this body, encouraging you to join him and asking for our resignation,” Hoover said. “I knew if I did not resign, that would continue and it would just cause more pressure, more discomfort for every member on this floor.”
Bevin hasn’t responded to a request for comment.
Last week, Hoover delivered a letter to the House saying House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne would serve as Speaker in his absence.
On Monday, Osborne said there won’t be an election for a new speaker this year.
“As we have been advised by legal counsel, we can operate with me as the presiding officer of the House until the expiration of my term as speaker pro tem,” Osborne said.
Hoover is from Jamestown in south central Kentucky. He has been a member of the House since 1996 and last year became the first Republican House Speaker since 1921.