Kentucky House of Representatives

Ryland Barton

Kentucky voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to decide who will compete for seats in the state legislature this fall.

This year’s statehouse primary elections feature a handful of crowded contests for seats vacated by retiring legislators. And dozens of teachers are hoping to ride a wave of outrage into Frankfort after launching massive protests at the state Capitol this spring.

Travis Brenda has been teaching at Rockcastle County High School for the last 19 years. He lives on a farm in Cartersville in southern Garrard County. Brenda is a Republican but he said he’s disappointed in how the fully-Republican controlled legislature is doing business.


J. Tyler Franklin

This week in Kentucky politics, candidates made their final pushes ahead of next week’s primary elections. Voters across the state will weigh in on who to nominate for Congress, the state legislature and several local offices on Tuesday. Plus, Gov. Matt Bevin named a new secretary of the state health cabinet and headed off to Asia on a trade mission.


Wikimedia Commons

Next week, Kentucky voters will head to the polls to weigh in on primary elections, including who to nominate for state legislative elections this fall.

All 100 seats in the state House of Representatives and half of the 38 seats in the state Senate are up for re-election this year.

At least 40 current and retired educators are running after the legislature voted to make changes to retirement for current and future teachers and other state workers.

And a wave of retirements from the statehouse has sparked hotly contested primaries, with both of Kentucky’s major political parties hoping to flip districts in their favor.

Three Warren County Republicans are running for the southern Kentucky House seat held by Democrat Jody Richards since 1976.  Ben Lawson, Troy Brooks, and Todd Alcott are seeking the GOP nomination for the 20th District House seat, which covers part of Warren County including Bowling Green.

WKU Public Radio is introducing you to all the candidates on the ballot in next week’s primary election.  We previously reported on the five Democrats in the race, including Patti Minter, Slim Nash, Ashlea Shepherd Porter, Rick DuBose, and Eldon Renuad. 

A coveted seat in the Kentucky House will soon have a new representative for the first time since 1976.  Former House Speaker Jody Richards announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election. 

Ahead of the May 22 primary, WKU Public Radio is airing a series of reports introducing you to each of the five Democrats and three Republicans seeking to replace Richards.  Democrats Brian Slim Nash and Patti Minter were profiled in a previous story.  The remaining three Democrats in the race, Ashlea Shepherd Porter, Rick DuBose, and Eldon Renaud, are heard in this report.


When veteran State Representative Jody Richards announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t seek re-election, several political newcomers were waiting in the wings. 

Eight candidates are running for the Kentucky House in the 20th District, a seat that hasn’t been vacant in more than four decades. 

In the days leading up to the May 22 primary election, WKU Public Radio is profiling each of the candidates.

Kentucky House GOP Caucus Chief of Staff Resigns

Jan 26, 2018
J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The chief of staff for the Kentucky House Republican Caucus has resigned amid fallout from a sexual harassment scandal involving four Republican lawmakers.

The Herald-Leader reports Ginger Wills resigned Friday. House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell confirmed her resignation but offered no details.

Wills was chief of staff under former House Speaker Jeff Hoover. Hoover stepped down as speaker earlier this month after acknowledging he was one of four Republican lawmakers to sign a secret sexual harassment settlement with a woman who once worked for the caucus. Wills was also named in the settlement, accused of creating a hostile work environment.

Ryland Barton

The former Kentucky House speaker who stepped down after signing a secret sexual harassment settlement is running for re-election.

The Secretary of State's website shows that Jeff Hoover filed paperwork Thursday to seek re-election. Hoover resigned as speaker earlier this month after acknowledging he and three other GOP lawmakers signed a secret sexual harassment settlement involving a woman who once worked for the House Republican caucus. Hoover did not resign his seat in the legislature.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin is calling for the immediate resignation of all elected officials and staff who have been involved in settling or hiding sexual harassment allegations.

The announcement came in a quickly-organized news conference Saturday afternoon amid allegations that House Speaker Jeff Hoover and several Republican leaders in the chamber had secretly settled sexual harassment claims.

Bevin called for the immediate resignation of  “every individual who has settled a sexual harassment case” and state employees “party to trying to hide this type of behavior.”

Ryland Barton

Republicans are officially the majority party in the state House of Representatives for the first time since 1921, putting the party in control of the legislature and the governorship for the first time in state history.

As expected, Jeff Hoover, a Republican from Jamestown, was elected House Speaker after serving as the leader of the minority party for 15 years.

On Tuesday, the first day of the legislative session, Hoover called for unity.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The sponsor of a so-called “religious freedom” bill says it may have to wait until 2018. Laurel County Republican Senator Albert Robinson said the bill would have passed this year had it not been for House Democrats.

The religious freedom bill would prohibit the government from forcing businesses to serve individuals if doing so would violate the business owner’s religious beliefs. Supporters say the bill’s passage is important to protecting an individual’s right to live according to their religious beliefs. Opponents of the bill say it would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Daviess County

Daviess County is expecting a record turnout on Election Day that could go as high as 70 percent of registered voters.

Daviess County’s chief election officer, Richard House, says the anticipated high voter turnout is due to a combination of national, state and local races that are generating a lot of interest.

“I think both sides are really polarized as far as the presidential race is concerned. We have several State House races here in Daviess County that are competitive. We’re going to have a new mayor. We’re going to have new city commissioners. So we have a lot of local interest in this race.”

Lots of candidates have stepped up to the plate in Daviess County. Five are running for mayor of Owensboro. Ten people are running for four seats on the Owensboro City Commission.

“We also have our first family court judge and there are four candidates running really competitive races,” said House. “That’s a non-partisan office and it’s the first time we’ve ever had a family court judge. So that’s been drawing a lot of attention.”

Expectations of high voter turnout are leading Daviess County to add 30 poll workers for the Nov. 8 election. The county is estimating that 50,000 voters could cast ballots on Election Day.

House said the voter turnout in previous presidential election years was about 68 percent in 2008 and 63 percent in 2012.