Politics

Republicans in the Kentucky House of Representatives have officially nominated Rep. Jeff Hoover to be the next speaker of the House when the party assumes control of the chamber for the first time in nearly a century.

Hoover is a lawyer from Jamestown and has served in the House since 1997. His mother and father were both state representatives as well.

Republicans have been relegated to the minority in the state House since 1922, when Democrats began their 95-year dominance of the chamber.

On Thursday, Hoover said he wouldn’t use his party’s new majority to punish Democrats.

“It’s not a time to gloat, it’s not a time to be prideful, it’s not a time to be arrogant because we have to govern,” Hoover said.

Though the House Republican caucus nominated Hoover to be speaker on Thursday, the full House will officially vote on Jan. 3 to fill the positions of house speaker and speaker pro-tem.

Hoover said that no other Republicans ran for the party’s nomination for speaker and that the caucus would hold internal elections for other leadership positions later this month.

The speakership is the most powerful office in the state House and has great influence over which bills get heard by the chamber, enforcing the procedural rules of the House and appointing lawmakers to committees and committee chairmanships.

Hoover said as speaker, he would work to better include Democrats into the legislative process — a point which he said former House Speaker Greg Stumbo did not always do.

“I can tell you that just because you’re in the minority doesn’t mean you don’t have good ideas and you can’t contribute,” Hoover said. “Because many, many, many times we had ideas and wanted to contribute, sometimes we could and sometimes we were shut out. And I hope to include all 100 members.”

Hoover also said he wanted to streamline the day-to-day operations of the House by starting on time and not having “an hour and a half of introductions.”

Republicans now have control of the state House, Senate and governor’s office, giving them a clear path to pass legislation if they can stay united. They have supermajorities in both legislative chambers, meaning they can pass constitutional amendments and thwart filibusters with a party-line vote.

The party has never had majorities in both chambers of the legislature and a Republican governor in Kentucky’s history, though Democrats have several times, most recently in 1996.

Kentuckians can expect a new push for conservative policies during the upcoming legislative session, including pushes for for so-called “right-to-work” legislation, repealing the prevailing wage on public works projects, revoking Common Core educational standards and allowing charter schools in the state.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives.