Hoover takes aim at House Speaker, Stumbo fires back on social media

12/12/2015 12:41 PM

A day after House Speaker Greg Stumbo lambasted Democratic Rep. John Tilley for accepting a role as secretary of Justice and Public Safety Cabinet in Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration, House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover fired back.

On Friday, Hoover called on Stumbo to apologize for comments he made against Tilley and Rep. Denny Butler, who switched party affiliation from Democrat to a Republican in recently.

“When the Speaker of the House makes public comments stating legislators such as Rep. Tilley and Rep. Butler are “for sale,” that the only motivation for their decisions was financial, and insinuating that their actions were criminal is beyond disheartening,” Hoover said in an op-ed sent to members of the media. “I find such statements to be slanderous and believe the intent behind them to be nothing more than defamation of these gentlemen’s impeccable character. Speaker Stumbo owes each of them, as well as the General Assembly as a whole, a public apology for making such statements.”

As the Courier-Journal first reported, Stumbo then took aim at Hoover on social media claiming that he was “trying to buy his way into the Speakers Chair” by offering a job to Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence.

When asked by the Louisville newspaper about the job offer, Hoover denied making overtures to Gooch.

In Hoover’s op-ed, he pointed out that it’s nothing new for members of the legislature to accept gubernatorial appointments or change party affiliation.

“Governor Beshear appointed several well-qualified Republican legislators to offices, as Governor Bevin has done with Rep. Tilley,” Hoover said. “Former Republican legislators like Rep. Milward Dedman and Rep. Melvin Henley switched to be Democrats.

“While I would have preferred they remain Republicans, I never questioned their character or made derogatory statements about them because I knew them both to be fine, upstanding people. Today, I still consider both of them personal friends, as well as friends to their communities.”

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