Preparing to make history, incoming GOP House Speaker says he’s - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Preparing to make history, incoming GOP House Speaker says he’s overwhelmed, but ready to go

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Rep. Jeff Hoover will officially be elected Speaker on Tuesday. Rep. Jeff Hoover will officially be elected Speaker on Tuesday.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Lawmakers will make history Tuesday when they gather in Frankfort for the 2017 session.

Republicans will take control of the state House for the first time in nearly a century.

For the first time in eight years, Greg Stumbo will not be the Speaker of the House, and for the first time in 96 years, a Republican will take the gavel.                   

“I'm somewhat overwhelmed, to be quite honest,” said Rep. Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown), who will officially be elected Speaker on Tuesday.

It's a job Hoover has working toward since he became House Minority Leader in 2001.

As he sits for his first interview in the Speaker's office, Hoover says he's ready to take command of a new Republican super-majority.

“There are a lot of challenges, a lot of issues facing the state," he said. "But, as I tell our caucus all the time, as tremendous as the challenges are, as significant as the issues are, the opportunity to do good things is even greater."

And it will be even more of a challenge with 23 new members in the House.

“More than one-third of our caucus are newly elected," Hoover said. "So, they’re excited, they’re eager, but yet they have some anxiety as well. I’m trying to work with them to say it’s going to be alright, to calm down, and we’re going to take care of these issues that come up.”

When it comes to issues, Hoover says the economy will be the priority in this short 30-day session. And passing a right-to-work law is at the top of the list.

“You look at surrounding states that have adopted right to work, you have to look no further than Indiana and Tennessee," he said. "They are actually kicking our tail in job creation, and a lot of that is right to work.”

That could mean controversial social issues take a back seat, though Hoover says there will be legislation on abortion.

“I'm very pro-life, our caucus is very pro-life. I expect we will do a couple of pro-life bills this session, but for the most part, we’re focusing on economic policy.”

Now, after years in the minority, Hoover and the GOP is under pressure to produce results for the commonwealth.

“I feel like I’ve always been under pressure. It’s no different," he said. "I’m still under pressure, maybe in a little more visible role than as the Minority Floor Leader. But, we’re ready to go.”

The House convenes at noon on Tuesday. The Senate gavels in one hour earlier.

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