Hoover won’t seek re-election in 2020

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -- State Rep. Jeff Hoover, the first Republican House Speaker in a century who later resigned that post after entering into a sexual harassment settlement, has decided not to seek re-election in 2020.

In a statement he sent to WJRS in Russell Springs and aired on the radio station owned by his family, Hoover said: “After much thought and prayer for several months, and discussion with my family, I have decided to not seek re-election as State Representative in 2020. Someone once said as they pondered a different direction in their life, ‘you will just know when it is time.’ Now is time for me to step aside as State Representative and devote my time to my law practice and business interests and, hopefully, be of service to others in different ways.”

Hoover said he appreciates the support given to him by his family and the sacrifices he made while he was in the General Assembly.

“ I thank my wife Karyn for being patient, understanding, and supportive while I served in Frankfort and during the many, many days and nights I traveled across Kentucky to various events and engagements,” he said. “I could not have done it without her support and help. I am truly blessed to have her as my wife and as the wonderful mother to our daughters Blair, Ryan and Evan.”

He also expressed gratitude to his constituents.

“I am forever grateful to the citizens of Russell, Clinton, Cumberland and Pulaski counties who first elected me in 1996 and have re-elected me every two years since without opposition. I am humbled and honored to have had the privilege to serve you in Frankfort and the kindness, generosity and support given to me over the years will never be forgotten.”

In a possible reference to his sexual harassment settlement, Hoover said, “I have made mistakes but have learned and grown from them.”

He included a lot of praise for his fellow lawmakers in the statement. “I also say thanks to my colleagues in the House, both Republican and Democrat. These are some of the very best people I have ever known, and I count many of them, on both sides of the political aisle, as some of the best friends I have ever had. I wish each of them the very best as they continue to serve and work to find solutions to Kentucky’s problems and improve the lives of all Kentuckians.

“Thank you again for the privilege and honor to serve as State Representative for the finest people in Kentucky. I am forever grateful.”

After news broke in 2017 that Hoover and three other lawmakers reached a settlement with a female staffer who accused them of sexual harassment in which they paid her $66,000 and her attorneys $44,000 to settle the allegations, Hoover resigned as Speaker, while keeping his House seat and running unopposed in 2018. Also in 2018, he agreed to a $1,000 fine and a public reprimand by the Legislative Ethics Commission for engaging in "inappropriate text messages" with that female staffer.

Hoover was first elected to the House in 1997 and was the longest-serving Republican legislative leader in Kentucky history.

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