Gov. Bevin: Stepping down from leadership not enough for lawmakers entangled in sexual harassment settlement

11/22/2017 02:02 PM

Gov. Matt Bevin said those who have settled sexual harassment claims should resign from the General Assembly entirely during a radio interview Tuesday, reigniting his call for departures after former House Speaker Jeff Hoover stepped down as the leader of the House GOP caucus earlier this month.

Hoover, R-Jamestown, acknowledged reaching a confidential settlement with a female staffer in his Nov. 5 resignation as House speaker, saying he acted inappropriately but that their communications via text message were consensual and did not go beyond that.

Hoover said he would continue to represent the 83rd House District in the legislature.

Three others in the House Republican caucus were also reportedly involved in the settlement – Reps. Jim DeCesare, Brian Linder and Michael Meredith – but only Linder has confirmed his part in the agreement.

“I do still call on those individuals who have paid money to keep their young employees quiet so they wouldn’t talk about whatever inappropriate sexual interaction they had with them, they need to step down, leave their positions, not just positions of leadership because otherwise what message are we sending, Terry?” Bevin said during an interview with 840 WHAS host Terry Meiners.

“Are we saying that, ‘Hey, you’re allowed to be a married legislator paid by taxpayers, go to Frankfort and do sexually inappropriate things with your young employees, as long as you’re not in leadership, that’s OK.’ Is that the message we’re trying to send? To me it’s just disgusting and repulsive and inappropriate.”

Asked by Meiners about recent allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore and those raised against President Donald Trump during the 2016 election, Bevin said he’s “not trying to cast dispersions everywhere” and referred back to his call for lawmakers in Frankfort to resign if they settled sexual harassment claims.

“But if other people were to subsequently try to hide these similar indiscretions, they too should step down,” Bevin said. “There’s certain behaviors that we should or should not expect and accept from our legislators, and as I said in my press conference, you either condemn this behavior or you condone it.”

Bevin made clear during Tuesday’s radio interview that he still plans to call a special session to handle pension reform later this year.

Policymakers have yet to unveil what changes they’ve made to the original pension reform proposal, which drew opposition from public workers, teachers and even some top Republicans in the House.

“We will address this pension deficit in this state, the tremendous underfunded status, the worst in the nation, and I will expect our legislature to take this up, and I know they have the capacity to do it,” Bevin said. “I know the amount of work that has gone into this already in both the House and the Senate. I am absolutely confident that we will get it done, and Kentucky needs us to get it done.”



  • Ricky Lee Williams Jr. wrote on November 22, 2017 04:23 PM :

    I still have not heard when or how Gov. Bevin found out about this confidential settlement, nor has anyone came forward and said what was the cause for the settlement. All we know at this point is who paid the settlement, and that is basically it. The Governor nor his entourage had any privilege in finding this out. So, the biggest question I have is how did the Governor and his people find out what the settlement was over? I might be wrong here, but I think the Governor needs to put the shovel down and stop digging. The old saying “An eye for an eye, we all go blind” could jump up and take two birds down with one stone. RL

  • Wayne Ballinger wrote on November 23, 2017 01:51 PM :

    Ricky Lee, you sound like a Republican partisan….which is as bad as a Democratic party partisan. I’m a Republican, but, if some official is doing wrong, I really don’t care if the person is Republican or Democrat, and morally, one must condemn both and not be caught making excuses why the immoral behavior of one isn’t as bad as the immoral behavior of the other.

  • Wayne Ballinger wrote on November 23, 2017 01:52 PM :

    Ricky Lee, you sound like a Republican partisan….which is as bad as a Democratic party partisan. I’m a Republican, but, if some official is doing wrong, I really don’t care if the person is Republican or Democrat, and morally, one must condemn both and not be caught making excuses why the immoral behavior of one isn’t as bad as the immoral behavior of the other.

  • Ricky Lee Williams Jr. wrote on November 23, 2017 09:50 PM :

    Mr. Ballinger, I don’t know how I came off partisan, but if you took it that way that wasn’t the way I intended it to come across. This whole deal is a mess, and it is difficult to navigate through for several reasons. The first is because there is a woman involved here, and I don’t want to come across insensitive in any way. That is why you don’t see anyone talking about it. The only reason I am talking about it is because of the way it has been handled by the House that is controlled by us, and by members within our elected party, and a few lobbyists who the timing of this is very convenient for. Last but not least, Rep. Linder and how he has been caught up in all of this.

    I was at the Kentucky Horse Park last weekend, and I ran into a few democrat political operatives. After we left the Horse Park, we went to the Embassy Suites for lunch. We talked about the state of the democrat party, both national and here in Kentucky. I told them what I tell everyone on here. The democrat party, in Kentucky, has to do some soul searching and try to build the base back to what it once was. The bench is pretty bare today, on a statewide level. I gave them a few names of people I would feel comfortable supporting. I don’t think it would be a shocker to most, but I will throw a few names out of those I mentioned.

    If they can get Mayor Jim Gray to come out in the 6th District, I will support him in his run to unseat Congressman Andy Barr.

    If Sen. Robin Webb comes out for Janet Stumbo’s Supreme Court seat, I will support her.

    I threw out 4 or 5 names to run for governor, and only one is in Frankfort right now. That is Rick Rand. I have always been a fan of Rep. Rick Rand. He knows our budget inside and out. I consider Mr. Rand a Reagan democrat, and I would be comfortable helping him in a statewide campaign.

    This is an old one, but I can see Ben Chandler coming out of retirement and getting back in to help the democrats in their time of need. I saw Ben Chandler at the book fair. I’ve been very impressed with his new endeavor trying to make inroads in Kentucky with our health disparities.

    It is too early, I believe, but Rep. Chris Harris out of Pikeville and Sen. Morgan McGarvey out of Louisville have a ton of talent, if not in the immediate future, then a few years out they will play a part in statewide contests.

    We are in trouble in this state. We should be talking about this pension crisis. We should be talking about tax reform. We should be talking about educating our youth, from Pre-K through higher education. It always seems that when we need to be focusing on the task at hand something off the wall sweeps us off our feet and gets us off topic, and we neglect the true hard stuff that this state somehow has to come to grips with. RL

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