BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
In a formal letter to the 111th General Assembly, Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada announced on Tuesday that he will be resigning from his position as speaker on Friday, August 2.
In the letter, Casada, who represents District 63 in Williamson County, also requested that Governor Bill lee call a special session that same day for the purpose of choosing a successor.
“I resign from my position as Speaker of the House of Representatives, effective Friday, August 2nd at 8:00 am,” Casada wrote. “I also request that Governor Bill Lee call the General Assembly into a special session for legislative business on that day. During the special session, the House may take up the procedural matter of electing a new Speaker to lead the chamber.”
Casada first announced his resignation back on May 21, one day after a vote of no confidence from the Tennessee General Assembly. The vote saw state leaders from both sides of the political spectrum call for the Speaker’s resignation, including Williamson County Republican State Legislator Sam Whitson, who represents District 65.
Calls for Casada’s resignation first exploded into the public sphere in early May after reports revealed text messages suggesting that his former chief of staff, Cade Cothren, had engaged in inappropriate, and potentially illegal behavior. Through leaked text messages, it was revealed that Cothren had sent sexually explicit messages to and about female interns, used racially derogatory remarks such as the n-word, and had used cocaine in the state legislative offices. Casada was also found to have engaged Cothren in some of the text messages.
The news that Casada would be serving as Speaker for nearly two more months came as a surprise to Whitson, who said he was under the impression that Casada was going to resign sometime this week.
“It will be disruptive to our party for the next two months for Glen to occupy that seat with the uncertainty that will create,” Whitson said. “Again, I find no joy or satisfaction in having to do this. I consider him a friend, but he needs to understand that we don’t get to pick who we serve with, but we sure do get to pick who leads us. Glen, unfortunately, has lost the confidence of the Republican Caucus, and he needs to understand that. I feel for Glen, I feel sorry for Glen, but Glen created this situation and needs to think about what’s best for the Caucus, the General Assembly and the state of Tennessee.”