Kentucky House Speaker-elect Jeff Hoover has tapped four Democrats to serve on his eight-member transition team. All are former House members.
Hoover, a Republican from Jamestown who will become on Jan. 3 the first GOP speaker of the state House since 1921, said at a Thursday news conference in the Capitol Annex that the unpaid members of his transition team will deal with legislative processes and not policies.
The team will be co-chaired by former state Republican Rep. Danny Ford of Mount Vernon and former Speaker Bobby Richardson, a Democrat from Glasgow.
Joining them on the team are Democratic state Sen. Julian Carroll of Frankfort, a former governor and House speaker; former Democratic state Reps. Bill Lear of Lexington and Jim LeMaster of Paris; Republican state Sen. Julie Raque Adams of Louisville; and former Republican state Reps. John Vincent of Ashland and Alecia Webb-Edgington of Fort Wright.
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The team, Hoover said, will focus on House rules and the structure of the chamber’s committee system. He said he intends to have committee assignments proportionally match the makeup of Republicans and Democrats in the chamber. There will be 64 Republicans and 36 Democrats in the House.
The transition team will have two or three meetings over the next few weeks to come up with recommendations, Hoover said.
Richardson, who was House speaker from 1981 to 1985, said a goal of his legislative career was to make the House more efficient and he wants to do the same for Hoover.
He said he does not see his role as helping an opposing political party, but rather to “make this transition seamless and to ask for help from people of experience on how to make the legislature, the House particularly, more efficient.”
Richardson has been a friend of Hoover since Richardson served with Hoover’s father, Welby Hoover, who died in late 1986 shortly after winning a House seat, and with Hoover’s late mother, Mae Hoover, who won a special election to the House seat.
Hoover said he was “very cognizant” of picking a bipartisan transition team. “It’s part of me trying to set a different tone in the House.”
Hoover also said that Democrat Greg Stumbo, who will depart as speaker at year’s end because of his loss in his Nov. 8 re-election bid, has offered to assist with the transition.