Former Speaker of the House Glen Casada to retire from legislature

Posted at 10:19 AM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 19:34:36-05

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Former Speaker of the House Glen Casada announced Wednesday he will retire from the state House when his term ends next year.

Casada said the decision came after prayer and thought into the process. His retirement will leave the District 63 House seat open without an incumbent running for the first time in two decades.

"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," the Franklin Republican said in a statement.

Since 2001, Casada has held the seat in the district. His district represents constituents from Franklin to Nolensville and south into Thompson's Station.

His past campaign seasons haven't been without competition. In 2020, he had two people running against him: Democrat Elizabeth Madeira and independent Brad Fiscus.

Previously in 2016, Democrat Courtenay Rogers challenged the long-time Republican.

Casada history during 20-plus years

While this announcement comes during a quiet moment in his tenure, Casada faced turmoil during the last decade.

Back in January of this year, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee confirmed the FBI visited the home of Casada and his former aide Cade Cothren.

NewsChannel 5 learned in February that the FBI took notice of one of his pieces of legislation: Gov. Bill Lee's legislation to create school vouchers to pay for private school tuition.

At the time, two independent sources — who spoke on the condition that they not be identified — said Casada described being questioned about allegations of bribes being offered for votes.

In 2020, Casada remained under the radar at the legislature. His only bills came in form of helping the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation with DUI lists and school technology filters.

During his tenure as speaker, Casada steered Lee's bill to passage, holding the vote open while he searched for lawmakers willing to vote to pass it.

It only passed by a one-vote margin.

At the time, some lawmakers accused of him offering others incentives to entice their votes.

Casada denied any wrongdoing.

The Williamson County Republican was forced to resign his position as House speaker in August 2019 after multiple NewsChannel 5 Investigates stories uncovered racist and sexually explicit text messages between him and Cothren.

Casada has also served as House majority leader, at which time he and other lawmakers expelled former lawmaker and his former ally Jeremy Durham from the house.

Legislators expelled Durham for his inappropriate behavior with 22 women, detailed in an attorney's general report. Casada supported Durham until state officials dinged Durham for campaign infractions.

In recent years, he has also called for the Tennessee National Guard to round up Syrian refugees.

What lawmakers have said about his retirement

Williamson lawmakers have shared their sentiments about their colleague headed for retirement.

Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, served alongside him the longest time in the county.

"Rep. Casada is a great friend and tremendous asset to our community," Johnson said. "I am grateful for his conservative leadership and service to Williamson County and Tennessee.

Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, led efforts to champion the Katie Beckett waiver bill. He thanked Casada for helping make that a reality.

"I strongly feel that Katie Beckett will be Glen's legacy," Whitson said. "This law wouldn't have been possible without his support and leadership."

This is a developing story. Check back with NewsChannel 5 for updates.