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The Tri-Star State: Answering Some Of The Questions About The House Speaker Scandal

Stephen Jerkins/WPLN File Photo

House Speaker Glen Casada has been fighting for his political life. And it's not the first time his reputation has been on the line.

Many lawmakers have called for the Franklin Republican to step down. That's after the leaking of sexist and racist text exchanges with a top aide, his now-former chief of staff, Cade Cothren.

WPLN senior editor Chas Sisk spoke with Jason Moon Wilkins about why this isn't just a crisis for Casada, it's a problem for Tennessee’s Republican Party as a whole.

The following are excerpts from recent interviews about the scandal:

State Sen. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, on what the texts reveal about Speaker Casada:

"I think it sends a message that he really does not value women. And it's not an isolated mistake but essentially a pattern now."

State Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville, on whether there's a societal bias toward white women, over African Americans, as victims of discrimination:

"When the news broke about the racial epithets, it was a good story, but nothing happened. And nothing as going to happen. But when the text messages came out objectifying white women and the drug use, all arms went up. 'Cade has to go now!' So, we have to use this opportunity to talk about race and white privilege."

Former Republican state lawmaker Victor Ashe on the stakes for the Tennessee Republican Party:

Certainly I think the Republican Party would be better off because as long as he's there, these issues continue and particularly if more information comes out, on a variety of issues, I think it becomes almost a Chinese water torture treatment for the Republicans.

Before joining NHPR in February of 2015, Jason interned with a variety of public radio organizations including StoryCorps, Transom.org, and WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Bennington College with a degree in philosophy and sound design.
Chas joined WPLN in 2015 after eight years with The Tennessean, including more than five years as the newspaper's statehouse reporter.Chas has also covered communities, politics and business in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. Chas grew up in South Carolina and attended Columbia University in New York, where he studied economics and journalism. Outside of work, he's a dedicated distance runner, having completed a dozen marathons