TN Black Caucus calls for House Speaker to resign

Tennessee State Capitol
Tennessee State Capitol(Action News 5)
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 3:55 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators called for the resignation of House Speaker Glen Casada in 2019.

”We’re of the mind that the legislature can’t begin to heal and can’t begin to move forward until we have a new speaker,” said Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis.

The controversy involves emails and text messages.

Casada’s former chief of staff, Cade Cothren, is accused of sending racist and vulgar text messages. Casada admits he exchanged inappropriate messages about women with Cothren.

For over two hours, Speaker Casada met with the TBCSL behind closed doors. The meeting continued after Casada left. He told reporters afterward that the meeting was a frank discussion of how to move forward.

”I apologize for those two texts. That’s what I’m guilty of and I apologize because it pains me,” said Casada, R-Franklin.

Members of the Tennessee Black Caucus told News4 they still don’t have the answers they need after meeting with the speaker.

A special prosecutor is now looking into an email a student activist sent Casada’s office. Cothren forwarded it to the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office.

On Friday, the TBCSL sent the Department of Justice two letters asking for an investigation into Casada’s office.

”The conditions under which the email was exchanged with the DA’s office.When? What did it look like? Was it altered? If so, how and when was it altered?,” Hardaway said.

Casada wasn’t backing down and said he won’t resign.

”I feel very strongly that the overwhelming majority is still with me,” Casada said.

”The black caucus is prepared to move to whatever it will take to enforce the position we’ve taken today,” Hardaway said.

News4 asked members of the Tennessee Black Caucus if a special session to remove Casada was out of the question.

They said it will depend on what Republicans decide at their caucus meeting.