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After Strangulation Charge, Citizens Seek To Impeach Kentucky Rep. Robert Goforth

Ryland Barton

Eight people have filed an impeachment petition against Republican state Rep. Robert Goforth, who was indicted for assault charges last year after he allegedly attempted to hogtie and strangle his wife with an ethernet cord.

Goforth represents the 89th House district, which includes Jackson County and parts of Laurel and Madison counties. He was easily reelected last year despite the charges.

The petition, filed by eight of Goforth’s constituents in Madison County, says he should be impeached for “breach of public trust, felonious acts of violence upon women, abuse of office and state property, and other misfeasance and malfeasance.”

“The Commonwealth requires its elected officials to be persons of good moral character and conduct. It is wrong for this representative to sit in the Chamber and be paid for his services with our hard-earned tax dollars,” the petition states.

Goforthwas charged with felony strangulation, assault and terroristic threatening last April after his wife alleged he assaulted her in front of their children at their home in East Bernstadt and threatened to kill her.

A Laurel County grand jury indicted Goforth in September on strangulation and assault charges stemming from the incident.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Goforth said he hadn’t read the impeachment petition, but that he shouldn’t be removed because voters reelected him last November.

“Obviously, they had a chance to speak on Election Day and the voters in my district decided to send me back to Frankfort to continue to represent them and that’s what I’m doing,” Goforth said.

Goforth would not address the allegations that he assaulted his wife.

“That’s being handled in court,” Goforth said.

Goforth owns several pharmacies in southeastern Kentucky and on the legislature’s website lists one of his occupations as “substance abuse prevention educator.”

He was first elected to represent the 89th district during a special election in 2018. Heunsuccessfully challenged then-Gov. Matt Bevin during the 2019 Republican primary election for governor, taking 39% of the vote.

Goforth’s impeachment petition comes after four citizens filed a petition to impeach Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear last week. The state House formed a committee to review the request for Beshear’s impeachment.

Anna Whites, who is representing Goforth’s petitioners, said she hopes the House reviews the new claims.

“We need folks in Frankfort, according to the filers, who really represent the moral and ethical nature of Kentuckians and present behavioral health issues,” Whites said. “This is something serious that needs to be addressed.”

Kentucky did not have a felony strangulation crime until 2019 when the legislature created it. Goforth voted in favor of the legislation.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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