A top aide to Glen Casada, Tennessee’s speaker of the House of Representatives, has resigned in wake of revelations that he sent sexually inappropriate and racially demeaning text messages while employed at the state legislature.
Nashville news outlets reported Monday that Cade Cothren, the House speaker’s 32-year-old chief of staff, announced he is leaving his position. He’d been promoted to the post following Casada’s election to serve as the chamber’s presiding lawmaker back in January.
Cothren said he was resigning so “House and Senate Republicans can continue focusing on those things that make Tennessee the best state in the entire nation.”
Speaker Casada, a Republican from Williamson County, issued a statement following Cothren’s announcement:
“Effective immediately, my Chief of Staff, Cade Cothren has resigned from his position. As this story continued to evolve in recent days, I had additional conversations with Mr. Cothren, and he made this decision to resign. I thank Mr. Cothren for his service to our General Assembly and to the state of Tennessee.”
Over the past several days news outlets have been publishing some of Cothren’s personal text messages from 2014-2016 that appear to indicate he engaged in ill-advised sexual and drug-using behaviors. Also in the electronic communications, he employed offensive slurs describing black people and certain women he associated with professionally, according to media outlets..
First-year House Majority Leader William Lamberth said he was “incredibly shocked and disappointed” by the contents of Cothren’s text messages that’ve thus far been made public.
Lambert said in a statement he “agreed with (Cothren’s) decision to resign immediately.”
“These allegations are grave and serious; I do not condone these actions, and they will not be tolerated,” said Lambert.
During a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday, Democrats called for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to probe the scandal for ethical and potential criminal violations. (See video below.)