Casada to retire in 2022

By: - November 10, 2021 11:59 am
Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, looks pensive at his desk in the Tennessee House of Representatives in Jan. 2021. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, looks pensive at his desk in the Tennessee House of Representatives in Jan. 2021. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Two years after resigning as House speaker amid scandal, state Rep. Glen Casada, who is under investigation by federal authorities, is set to leave the General Assembly.

Casada, a Williamson County Republican, announced Wednesday he would not run for re-election to his District 63 seat, which takes in the eastern half of Williamson County, including much of Brentwood, Franklin and Thompson Station.

“This decision comes after much prayer and thought,” Casada said in a release. “I am blessed and grateful to have served Williamson County and to have achieved many goals for my constituents, but it is time for a new chapter of public service.”

Casada is believed to be preparing for a run to become the Williamson County Clerk after the county commission there appointed Jeff Whidby to the post.

Casada, 63, was elected to the House 18 years ago after serving on the Williamson County Commission and worked his way up through the Republican Caucus ranks, becoming majority leader before vaulting to prominence as House speaker in 2019.

He left office in a scandal, holding the Speaker’s post for eight months, the shortest tenure in history, after racist and sexist texts sent to him by his chief of staff, Cade Cothren, came to light along with complaints about his heavy-handed management style, including “bill kill lists,” “hall monitors” to eavesdrop on members and the hiring of a political operative to spin stories in favor of Republican House members. 

Casada resigns

The FBI also started investigating whether Casada offered lawmakers perks for votes in favor of Gov. Bill Lee’s education savings account board. When the bill was locked in a tie vote in April 2019, Casada held the board open for 45 minutes to work the chamber and obtain the tie-breaking vote, which came from Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville.

Casada resigned from the top leadership position in August 2019 after the House Republican Caucus held a closed-door meeting at a Nashville boutique hotel and gave him a no-confidence vote. The House then elected Cameron Sexton of Crossville as the speaker.

In January 2021, the FBI raided the homes of Casada and two other lawmakers, as well as legislative offices as part of an investigation into potential laundering of campaign funds. The probe, which focused on a now-defunct vendor called Phoenix Solutions that was paid tens of thousands by the House Republican Caucus and other lawmakers, is believed to be ongoing.

Speculation in late 2019 centered on whether Casada would seek re-election in 2020. He had gone through a divorce and also lost his job with a veterinary pharmaceutical company during the scandal that cost him the speakership.

He decided to run and won but has maintained a low profile for the last two years.

Casada, who has kept a low profile since resigning from his leadership post in 2019,  is believed to be preparing for a run to become the Williamson County Clerk in Aug. 2022.

Casada made some of his first national headlines in 2015 when he said the Tennessee National Guard should round up Syrian refugees. According to reports, Casada also was a plaintiff in the lawsuit that claimed former President Barack Obama wasn’t an American citizen.

He played an instrumental role in helping Republicans flip Democratic control of the House to the GOP. In addition, he sponsored the constitutional amendment to ban a personal state income tax and backed pro-life and pro-business initiatives.

Rep. Sam Whitson, a Franklin Republican, said Casada was instrumental in funding the Katie Beckett Act, which provides medical funds and therapies for families with fragile children.

“I strongly feel that Katie Beckett will be Glen’s legacy,” Whitson said in a statement. “This law would not have been possible without his support and leadership.”

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson of Franklin called Casada a “great friend and tremendous asset” to the community.

“I am grateful for his conservative leadership and service to Williamson County and Tennessee,” Johnson said.

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Sam Stockard
Sam Stockard

Sam Stockard is a veteran Tennessee reporter and editor, having written for the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, where he served as lead editor when the paper won an award for being the state's best Sunday newspaper two years in a row. He has led the Capitol Hill bureau for The Daily Memphian. His awards include Best Single Editorial from the Tennessee Press Association.