Speaker-elect Hoover names bipartisan transition team as GOP takes control of House

11/17/2016 03:58 PM

FRANKFORT — As Republicans prepare to take a majority in the state House of Representatives for the first time in nearly a century, House Speaker-elect Jeff Hoover named an eight-member transition team on Thursday to help him as he assumes the speaker’s dais.

Hoover hopes that the makeup of his transition team will show he’s serious about changing the tone in the General Assembly’s lower chamber. He said he hopes to improve the House’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Among Republicans, he’s tapped state Sen. Julie Raque Adams, of Louisville, and former state Reps. John Vincent, of Ashland, Alicia Webb-Edgington, of Fort Wright, and Danny Ford, a Mount Vernon Republican and Hoover’s predecessor as House minority floor leader.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Julian Carroll, former House Speaker Bobby Richardson, of Glasgow, and former Reps. Bill Lear, of Lexington, and Jim LeMaster, of Paris, will offer their input as part of the transition team.

“Specifically some things I want them to look at, one is rules that we have in place, to look not only at our rules but look at rules of the Senate, look at rules from other legislative bodies around the country, and just have a discussion about how things can be done better if they can, and we think they can,” said Hoover, R-Jamestown.

“Secondly, to look at the committee system, to look at the jurisdiction of the committees that are outlined in our current rules, should they be changed, and if so, in what manner and what would make committees more efficient. There are some ideas that have been floated around about changing the committee structure somewhat.”

Richardson and Ford will serve as co-chairs of the transition effort, which is an unpaid commitment.

“I think that Speaker Hoover’s idea of including both parties bodes well for the commonwealth, it bodes well for better legislation, and I certainly look forward to participating and trying to make these changes that will make the legislature more efficient,” Richardson said.

Ford said the transition committee’s makeup “exemplifies the kind of leadership that Rep. Hoover, soon to be Speaker Hoover, will bring to the Kentucky legislature.”

Hoover has already said that he’s looking to change some of the House rules, but Thursday was the first indication that committees could be altered.

He didn’t give many specifics when asked, but Hoover said Democrats will have more extensive input in their committee assignments that Republican had when they were in the minority.

He has criticized the last round of committee assignments, saying they were out of proportion with the chamber’s political makeup. Democrats had held a 53-47 majority until last week’s elections, when Republicans won a 64-36 supermajority.

“There are several committees where we are four or five or six members short,” Hoover said.

“But my intention is that each committee will have 36 percent, rounded off however that is, of minority members and 64 percent majority members. That’s the way the system was set up, and there’s no reason that that should not be the way it is going forward. That’s been one of my biggest frustrations in recent years.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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