By EMILY R. WEST
From topics ranging from the health care exchange to Jeremy Durham, The Tennessean asked incumbent Glen Casada a variety of questions as part of its Election 2016 series.
The Tennessean editorial board will continue to ask several of those running for Congress and the Tennessee General Assembly questions over Facebook Live. Casada is running for the District 63 House seat, which spans from east Brentwood south to Thompson’s Station and east to Nolensville.
Just yesterday, Blue Cross Blue Shield announced they will not stay on the state exchange in the Memphis, Knoxville and Nashville markets in 2017. Inside the Nashville market includes Williamson County. Now, the state exchange will only offer Cigna and Humana for those who live here as insurance options. Earlier this summer, Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak announced the state exchange was crumbling, and also allowed BCBS to raise rates by nearly 60 percent.
“The one thing we don’t want to do is implement ACA on a state level,” Casada said. “It drives up the costs of health care for everybody. We have to think outside the box. There must be an expectation that you have to pay something. You have to pay your fair share. You can’t have a copay of $2.50.”
Casada also touched on his dealings this legislative session with now expelled member Jeremy Durham. The legislature expelled Durham 70-2 for his behavior. The expulsion came after the Attorney General released a report detailing inappropriate conduct from the Franklin Republican.
Casada iterated that Durham lied to him, though he said he believed him for nearly three months. He said at first, he felt that only a handful of sources were misinforming reporters about what was happening.
“I respect people who are smart on their feet and work hard,” Casada said. “He showed those initially. But as good as those things are, integrity always supersedes that. He let me down. He misled a lot of us. In the rest of my life, I will be let down again. It doesn’t keep me from trusting people on what they initially tell me.”
Casada said he believed Speaker Beth Harwell would continue to make the culture more comfortable in the future for those who have been harassed. Harwell worked on a new Workplace Harassment Policy after reviewing the former one.
“It wasn’t spelled out well,” he said. “It wasn’t clear. The line of communication wasn’t clear. I do think that she has kept any blackballing from happening.”
The Tennessean editorial board also brought up the role of the state government as it refers to the local one.
“There is a lot of misconception,” Casasda said. “Modern Republicanism is Jeffersonian in its outlook. It’s not local government that’s best. We feel government that governs least is the best. The state government created the federal government and created local government. We give certain responsibilities to locals, and certain responsibilities we don’t give to locals. So when locals want to do something that is not within in the jurisdiction, you see the state step in and say, ‘locals, this is not yours.'”
Casada sited his own inclusionary zoning bill as an example. That particular piece of legislation became contentious in Franklin with the Housing Commission. Mayor Ken Moore said during the session he didn’t agree with legislation, supporting Franklin making its own policies rather than one from state oversight. The Board of Mayor and Alderman recently had to repeal its inclusionary zoning policy because of the law. The City of Franklin used money from that to support affordable housing initiatives.
Ultimately, Casada said he wanted to keep his seat so he could continue to keep businesses thriving in Tennessee and ensure what he considered a positive tax rate.
“It’s been an honor to serve,” he said. “I want to keeping taxes low and keeping the government out of your life.”