House Majority Leader addresses allegations against Speaker, staff

Tennessee State Capitol
Tennessee State Capitol(Action News 5)
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 3:46 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Tennessee’s House Majority Leader William Lamberth addressed the latest allegations against House Speaker Glen Casada.

Lamberth said he called Casada’s former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren right after learning Cothren was accused of sending racist and vulgar text messages and pursuing interns in 2021.

”I made the phone call to Mr. Cothren before he stepped down and recommended that he do so,” Lamberth said. “Actions certainly have consequences and his actions were wildly inappropriate.”

The focus now is on House Speaker Glen Casada and whether he should resign.

Casada has admitted to exchanging inappropriate messages about women with Cothren.

”As the Majority Leader for the Republican Caucus, I think it’s important that I listen to all of our caucus members, that I determine what they feel about this situation and then go forward as a team,” said Lamberth, R-Portland. “We’re very disappointed in some of the behavior that’s been reported. So we’re going to get together next week as a caucus and we’re going to discuss that, and then we’ll decide on a path forward.”

Lamberth said they don’t want to make a knee-jerk decision.

He said he’s been in contact with the Speaker on a regular basis.

”Some of my first phone calls have been to the Speaker to ask whether some of these allegations are true or not, to hear his explanation. I encouraged other members to do the same,” Lamberth said.

Those members of the Republican Caucus are looking to meet next week.

”As a caucus again, we’re very disturbed about some of the allegations that have been made, and we’re trying to separate fact from fiction and make a determination on what’s best for the state, and really what’s best for the house on how to proceed,” Lamberth said. “I want the state to be strong and quite frankly, I think if the Republican Caucus is strong, that means the state of Tennessee is strong.”

During their meeting, the Republican Caucus may vote about whether the majority thinks Casada should resign. This vote would have no impact on Casada’s job, it would only show if a majority of House Republicans think he should step down.

Only a special session vote with the full House could remove Casada.