Minority Caucus Chair says it will be hard to conduct business with sexual harassment scandal still hanging over body

01/15/2018 04:52 PM

NEWPORT – A northern Kentucky state representative believes that even though the House agreed to table Rule 23A and disband the eight member special investigative committee investigating whether sexual harassment charges against Representative Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, were valid and warranted further investigation, the body will still have a hard time conducting business.

Rep. Dennis Keene,D-Wilder, believes that as long as the Legislative Ethics Commission investigation into the circumstances of a confidential sexual harassment settlement between four members of the House of Representatives , the chief of staff for House Republican leadership and a former staffer in December of 2017 continues, the body will remain in turmoil.

“I think that there’s a lot of individual parts out there that are corrupting the whole system, we have to figure out how we move past this,” Keene said. “The integrity of the body is in question.”

Keene expressed concern over Gov. Matt Bevin’s announcement on Friday of the 1115 waiver program which Democrats, like U.S. Representative John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, believe will cause thousands of people to lose Medicaid coverage.

“We’re starting to harm people, the children of Kentucky, and our most vulnerable, our seniors, They are going to be taken a back by all of this stuff, that’s what we’re going to be dealing with all of this stuff,” Keene said. “That’s the unintended consequences.”

Gov. Matt Bevin will be giving his State on the Commonwealth and Budget address on Tuesday night and Keene is concerned about the problems which will come about because of some projected cuts to areas like education.

“You know, these regressions that we’re taking in the healthcare, dealing with children and seniors, and cutting education and all of that, that’s not the proper way to go about this,” Keene said. “If we don’t keep an educated public, we’re not going to create the jobs that we need, the well paying jobs, and that’s very concerning.”

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Keene believes that even though the Democrats are in the minority, they’ve demonstrated their importance in the chamber and will continue to work with Republicans to get through the many issues that the chamber, and state faces.

“Our job as a minority is to express those questions, and make the other side think,” Keene said. “We just did that with 23A, I mean we got up and talked in the very beginning about hoe detrimental that rule was and they realized, hey, we did screw up and we need to rectify this, and they admitted to that.”

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