Editor's Note: The following letter was submitted to the state Republican House Caucus by Franklin resident and Republican Monty Lankford, who serves as chairman of Leaders for Tennessee PAC. The letter outlines his support of removing Rep. Glen Casada as House speaker after sexually explicit text messages surfaced last week, involving Casada. The caucus will discuss the recent actions of Casada at 2:30 p.m. Monday to decide if action should be taken. Below is the letter published in part.
Over the past few weeks our media has been plagued with the horrific actions of our State House Speaker Glen Casada. Some of you remember last year when I voiced my opposition of Glen becoming the Speaker. My issue is not a personal vendetta but comes from a deep conviction and love I have for truth.
For 4 years as the Second Vice Chair of the Williamson County Republican Party, and then for 6 years as Chairman of Leaders for Tennessee PAC, I traveled tirelessly across this state finding candidates that supported our conservative values and we raised money to helped lead in the takeover for Republicans. Several of you were benefactors of our efforts. During that time, we helped over 40 Conservatives win elections and in 2010 we turned Tennessee into a red state for the first time since reconstruction.
Today we stand at the crossroads of some major decisions. First, we have to decide what it means to be a conservative. For me, it is not just about how you vote, it is about how you live; it is a lifestyle. There is nothing conservative about immorality, demoralizing prejudice statements about ethnic groups or flat out lying and trying to cover it up. Our Speaker, who has all these character flaws, wants to call himself a conservative, but I disagree.
I have known Speaker Casada for over 30 years, and he is not the same person I knew for the first 20 years. When I first realized Glen was making some wrong decisions, I went to him as a friend and talked with him, and thought things would be better ... He has done things he would have never dreamed of, and that is why he is asking forgiveness. After all, why ask forgiveness if you are innocent.
There are a few things I want you to think about as you prepare to have a vote of confidence next week to decide if he is still fit to lead our legislature as the Speaker.
First is Glen's ability to lead. Recently Glen’s Chief of Staff announced his resignation after multiple text messages between him and Speaker Casada were made public. Some were outright discusting and about as horrible as one could imagine. Sadly, the Speaker engaged himself in the text messages. The bigger question is why did he ever hire Cothren in the first place knowing he was morally bankrupt? This type of lifestyle is to great of a liability for our state, and could result in multiple law suites from interns and lobbyist being forced into sexual relationships. To say the least, women were taken advantage of because of power.
Glen hired Cothren knowing all he was doing, and even took pleasure in him doing it. Tennessee does not need a Speaker that has such poor judgement skills. Glen only chose him as his Chief of Staff, because he thought and lived just like Glen. Cothren even commented, “Like father, like son”. Glen even tried to lie about some of the accusations that came out against him saying people were just out to get him, until his own text messages proved him to be lying. He even misled others to believe he was innocent, and caused them to make statements of support that are embarrassing.
Secondly, if the legislature can tolerate for one minute the disgrace and disrespect Glen has shown towards women, we have major problems in our state. Every woman across the state should be demanding his resignation. The state of Tennessee, and Williamson County deserve much better representation. The way he has treated females either through his own actions or allowing others to brag about their affairs with women and then joke with them about it, should demand a resignation.
My third and final point is the derogatory comments made about African Americans by Glens COS, and the Speakers engaging in them and not openly condemning Cothren at the time they were made. I am personally upset about such prejudice comments and have no toleration for them. In the blood of Christ there is no color of skin. Our family was blessed with an adoption of an African baby from Ethiopia, as well as being blessed to take in a young African American from down town Franklin and help raise him over the past 5 years. They both call me Poppi, and I love them equally as any other grandchild.
I want to come out today and join with the Black Caucus and say to them I stand with you 100% in your request for Glen Casada to step down. The color of ones skin or the side of the isle one votes on should have nothing to do with our respect for them as humans. We as Republicans must stand against the actions of the Speaker.
We may not see eye to eye on every political issue, as I wouldn't with all republicans. But, I have no time for this kind of hateful and prejudice statements that the Speaker has been involved in and allowed by his COS. How can we say we are conservatives and allow racial or ethnic statements to be made against anyone. To the Black Caucus, I am with you on this issue! I am sorry that this has happened, and I hope Republicans have the courage to set things right and support your request for the Speaker to step down.
Monty J. Lankford