U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie took to Twitter Friday to protest an unexpected decision by Kentucky House Republican leaders late Thursday to remove six Republican members from several committees without giving a reason.
Massie identified four of them as strong conservatives.
Often considered “Liberty” politicians who seek smaller government, they are Reps. Steven Doan of Erlanger, Rep. Josh Calloway of Irvington, Rep. Felicia Rabourn of Pendleton, and Rep. Mark Hart of Falmouth.
Other Republicans suffering committee loss were Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser of Taylor Mill and Nancy Tate of Brandenburg.
Asked why the lawmakers lost committee assignments, Laura Leigh Goins, a spokeswoman for House GOP leadership, said she was not going to comment on what happens within the Republican caucus.
Doan, who is in his first year in office, said House leaders have not told him why he was removed from two committees but he believes all the changes involved retaliation “for something leadership didn’t like.”
Massie, a Republican from Lewis County who has represented Northern Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District since 2012, wrote in his Twitter account Friday about the state House committee changes. It is rare for members of Congress to rebuke publicly state legislative leaders of their own party.
“Republican leadership kicked outspoken individuals off their committees in the Kentucky House on the last day of session instead of passing bills,” wrote Massie. “Punishing dissension is short-sighted, and doing so the last hour of the session has an air of pettiness that voters detest.”
Massie said he has “witnessed this insular exercise power of the U.S. House” and it cost people like John Boehner his speakership.
“For the good of our Commonwealth, I simply offer this advice: Instead of demanding compliance and loyalty from conservatives, who think independently while most faithfully representing our shared values and their constituents, hear the concerns and solutions for Kentucky.”
Doan, who was removed from the Education and Judiciary committees, said he probably lost them because of his attempt to table a bill banning “gray” games earlier in the session. The bill eventually was passed by both the House and Senate.
Doan said he will continue to speak out.
“The people elected me to state their views and I plan to keep on doing that,” he said.
Of the other three Kentucky lawmakers Massie referred to, Calloway was removed from Agriculture and Education, Hart from Agriculture and Rabourn from Agriculture and Families and Health Services.
Tate was taken off the Families and Children Committee and Moser removed from Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee. Moser, who has been in the House since 2017, remains chair of the House Health Committee.
Moser did not return a phone call seeking comment but Rabourn told the Courier Journal in Louisville that Moser was removed for a comment she made on the House floor doing debate about legislation to ban medical care in gender-affirming cases.
Moser reportedly said, “I’d like to say to the rest of the world who is watching Kentucky, we are not Neanderthals.”
House Republican leaders are Speaker David Osborne of Prospect, Speaker Pro Tem David Meade of Stanford, Majority Floor Leader Steven Rudy of Paducah, Majority Caucus Chair Suzanne Miles of Owensboro and Majority Whip Jason Nemes of Louisville.
Written by Jack Brammer. Cross-posted from the NKY Tribune.