‘Racist’ texts reportedly sent by Speaker’s chief of staff; Tenn. Democrats demand answers

Politics
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One of the issues percolating after the last day of the legislative session involves a senior staff member from House Speaker Glen Casada’s office. 

A media report accused Cade Cothren—the chief of staff for Republican Speaker Glen Casada—of altering an email concerning activist Justin Jones—who has been banned from the state Capitol after some of his protests against the Capitol bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, but legislative “it” people say they don’t see evidence that happened.

This morning, House Democrats seized on the media report that also accused Cothren of also sharing racist text messages. Copies were shown.

“Obviously, if these text messages were sent by somebody in government then that is disqualifying and they should not be in our government,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Stewart. “I don’t even think that needs to be said — that is self-evident.”

House Democrats are calling for both a direct statement from Speaker Casada regarding the allegations as well as the appointment of a special prosecutor to fully investigate the claims. 

“Think about this for a moment: You have school children in this state that have been learning about the history of civil rights. They’ve been learning about the sort of epithets that were directed at people like Martin Luther King,” Stewart continued. “Now, do we really think it’s acceptable for there to be an open question as to whether there is someone — a person in power — using the N-word in 2019? Think of what that says to a school child if that is true. It is ridiculous.” 

Casada has defended his chief of staff but he has not released an official statement on the accusations at this time. We will have more from him on News 2 at 11:30 a.m.

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 for updates. 

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