NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — For some representatives, the feeling was sadness.
“It’s sad to see any legislator’s career tarnished or end this way,” Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) said. “I know he’s going to have an uphill battle defending himself.”
For other reps, it was anger.
“I think our families deserve better from our elected officials,” Sen. Heidi Campbell (D-Nashville) said. “Laws should pass because they prevailed in honest debates on the merits of their legislation, not because lawmakers got a kickback from hedge fund managers and billionaires.”
Both Democrats and Republicans alike came together to condemn outgoing Rep. Glen Casada and his chief of staff Cade Cothren, after they were indicted on a myriad of charges.
“This is a sad day for the state of Tennessee government right now,” Rep. Vincent Dixie (D-Nashville) said. “It definitely puts a black eye on the legislature as a whole.”
“It’s sad, and he is a friend, he’s a friend to many people in the legislature and in his home county of Williamson County,” Hensley said. “He represented Williamson County well over the years.”
Hensley worked with Casada when he was still in the state House of Representatives. But wasn’t the only Republican with something to say.
State Speaker Cameron Sexton released a statement, writing in part, “In Tennessee, we will not tolerate public corruption, defrauding our state, or bribery at any level…today is a good day for Tennesseans because we did not turn a blind eye on these criminal activities.”
Governor Bill Lee‘s office released its own statement, with Director of Communications, Casey Sellers, writing in part, “We trust the legal process and continue to hold Tennessee’s public servants to high standards of accountability.”
Campbell suggested this might not be the end of the cycle.
“I suspect that this is not over,” she said. “So, anyone who has nothing to hide should cooperate.”
As for Casada himself, whether or not he receives his pension will depend on if he’s convicted or not.
“I think now, if someone gets convicted of a felony of something that pertains to their office, they can lose their pension,” Hensley said.
Regardless, he also said they don’t expect to take Casada out of office, considering he isn’t running for re-election anyway.
“I don’t see a special session being called to remove him over two or three months’ time,” Hensley said.