NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Many moving parts continue now that Republican House Speaker Glen Casada says he’ll resign soon, but questions remain as well.
First, was the governor satisfied with the speaker’s intentions to resign after he called for a special session to remove him if he didn’t step aside?
“I felt like he ought to and he has and that is all I can ask for,” said the governor prior to a Boys State event Tuesday in Cookeville.
The governor added he sees no reason now to call a special session, but Speaker Pro Tem Bill Dunn—who will assume Casada’s duties upon his resignation—said Tuesday he still wants to meet with Governor Lee and Lt. Gov Randy McNally on the best way forward to select a new speaker.
“We will be working with the legislature to see what direction they go,” said the governor.
Also at the Boys State event was Cookeville House Representative Ryan Williams, who was formerly Republican House Caucus Chair until last November.
He talked about the “healing” ahead for the House and Speaker Casada’s role in that process.
“Hopefully over the next few days, he’ll help us lay out a timeline in what’s he thinking so we can better prepare, and that healing process starts,” said Rep. Williams.
Earlier Tuesday, longtime Casada supporter Representative Susan Lynn–who was appointed by the speaker as the first woman to chair the House Finance Committee– shared how Casada told her Monday night he intended to resign.
“Well, I called him and asked if he was all right and he, in his upbeat way. he said ‘I’m at peace. I really am. I’m at peace.’ he said ‘I’m going to resign. I don’t know when. I want to plan for this so that it will be a very organized and peaceful transition.’ ” said Rep. Lynn.
She added what Speaker Casada said he took away from Monday’s nearly 2-1 “no confidence vote” by the House Republican Caucus in the midst of a scandal where there were many accusations, but Casada only admitted to responding to sexist texts from his former chief of staff.
“He also expressed thanks for everybody who voted for him and even thanks for everybody who didn’t because it’s a learning experience,” said Rep. Lynn.
As for the speaker immediately, he has said for days that he plans to leave this week for a two-week vacation that includes Greece.
He also faces an investigation by a special prosecutor over allegations his former chief of staff Cade Cothren altered emails to help ban an activist from the capitol building, but the Speaker maintains the legislative IT department says that did not happen.
A hearing on the matter is still scheduled for June 11 according to the office of Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott who was appointed special prosecutor by the state’s DA group at the request of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Late today, there was also word from the Chattanooga Times Free Press that Hamilton County Representative Mike Carter wants a special session to remove Casada from House seat and not just as speaker.
The newspaper said Rep. Carter has asked the legislative legal staff to prepare a petition for Casada’s ouster from the legislature.