Jeff Hoover was elected speaker of the House by the 100-member chamber shortly after it convened at noon.
“There is much work to be done, many challenges that we face, issues which need to be solved,” Hoover said. “As significant as the challenges may appear, none are greater or stronger than the will, the courage, and the determination of the men and women across Kentucky who have given to each one of us their most precious gift in a democracy: their vote.”
It was a family affair. Hoover’s wife, Karen, was present, as were his three daughters — Blair, Ryan and Evan — who led the Pledge of Allegiance to open this year’s law-making session.
Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, and many members of the Republican-led Senate also attended the event. The Senate convened at 11 a.m. and then recessed shortly before noon to view Hoover’s swearing-in ceremony.
Hoover pledged to work with Bevin and Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and each House member “because together we will lead on the issues that are important for securing a bright future for this commonwealth.”
Hoover replaces Democrat Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg, who lost his House seat in a re-election bid in November. He was among 17 Democrats who lost their House seats as Republicans crafted enough wins to gain a 64-36 majority.
The GOP win in Kentucky means Republicans now control all state legislative chambers in the South.
House Democrats met earlier in the day to elect their new leaders. State Rep. Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, was elected minority leader. Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, is caucus chairman and Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, is minority whip.