house republican caucus

Read Carter’s letter to House chairs, vice-chairs

Rep Mike Carter is sworn in to the 111th General Assembly in Nashville on Jan. 8, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Here is the full text of a letter Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) has written to the chairs and vice chairs in his pursuit of the House speakership:

Dear Chairman:

I am sending this letter to each Chairperson and Vice Chairperson to state in writing that you will retain your current positions if I am elected Speaker. Our 2020 election cycle including President Trump will motivate our opponents and we must be careful to do nothing to give an issue in your race.

We will restore integrity, trust and confidence in the House by promoting the excellent work that each of you perform in your roll as a House leader. Your interest and desires to serve in a given area will be given great weight towards any additional assignments that will be made. Additionally, we will revert back to the long established House rules that vests the power in the members, not the Speaker.

My request to serve you as Speaker is not about me, it’ s about you. I promise to use the Speaker’s office to promote each of you as the “Elected Official” in your district. This will begin with fair treatment to all and retribution to none. You will be asked to vote your conscience and your district not what others tell you to do for their benefit, not yours. Threats and intimidation will not be tolerated. Every member earned the trust and the vote of their district and represents approximately 67,000 people. Your obligations belong to those constituents not the Speaker. To that end I pledge to make myself available at your request for public meetings to promote your leadership and to raise essential funds for your re-election efforts.

I am forming a Speaker’s PAC to be professionally managed and maintained to raise funds for your re-­election efforts. I pledge that none of the funds raised to will go to me or my campaign. The Speaker’s PAC will support members and approved candidates only.

Stability is a key factor in reestablishing the rightful position of the House of Representatives in its powerful constitutional role. We will reinstate long held rules in the House that promote the House as a whole and not the Speaker. With budget savings and continuing with the theme “you are the leader of your district,” we will place flat screens outside each office so you may develop a slide show to promote your district, introduce yourself to observers and constituents, and state your accomplishments for your district. This is but one of many ideas to promote you and your district.

Lets start now and work tirelessly so that at your retirement your constituents will say that their community, district, and state of Tennessee was improved since you served as their state representative.

I hope to meet with each of you soon to gain your advice and answer any questions you may have.

Respectfully submitted,
/signed/
Mike Carter
District 29

 

House GOP to nominate new speaker July 24

Republican members vote during a House GOP caucus meeting in Nashville on Nov. 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Let the countdown begin. The House Republican Caucus plans to meet on July 24 to nominate a new speaker to succeed Rep. Glen Casada, who is stepping down following a loss-of-confidence vote.

(This post has been updated with the morning of July 24 being the scheduled date, not the afternoon of the 23rd, as earlier reported.)

The move comes as lawmakers await word from Gov. Bill Lee about the timing of a special session to hold a formal vote on replacing the speaker. The governor has said he plans to summon lawmakers back to Nashville in mid to late August, but had not settled on a specific date as of Tuesday, according to The Tennessean.

The declared Republican candidates for speaker so far include Reps. Mike Carter of Ooltewah, Cutis Johnson of Clarksville, Matthew Hill of Jonesborough, and Jay Reedy of Erin. House Republican Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton of Crossville has recused himself from scheduling and logistics decisions surrounding the speaker vote because he is strongly considering a bid of his own. Others mulling bids include Reps. Jerry Sexton of Bean Station and Ryan Williams of Cookeville.

 

Rep. Jay Reedy announces bid for speaker

Rep. Jay Reedy is the latest candidate for succeed Glen Casada as House speaker. In a letter to colleagues, the Erin Republican speaks out against “self indulgence and moral corruption.”

“We turn our backs on our country and family when we come to Capitol Hill and forget why we are elected,” he writes.

Reedy joins Reps. Mike Carter of Ooltewah, Matthew Hill of Jonesborough, and Curtis Johnson of Clarksville as announced candidates for speaker. Others considering bids include Reps. Cameron Sexton of Crossville, Ryan Williams of Cookeville, and Jerry Sexton of Bean Station.

Reedy says he won’t make phone calls or harass member in the campaign for speaker. But he says he looks forward to discussing his bid with colleagues.

Here’s Reedy’s full letter:

Dear Colleagues,

The Eyes of Tennessee are upon us!

Things are forgotten from one generation to the next, which should not be.

It seems that we have forgotten God, Country, and Family. We hold to self-indulgence and moral corruption that goes against Gods Laws. We turn our backs on our country and family when we come to Capitol Hill and forget why we are elected.

The reason that I fought to be elected to HD 74 was to continue my service to God and Country, as I had as an enlisted U.S. Army Soldier and later as a U.S. Army Reserve Officer.

Respect and responsibility require much trust! The trust that we share in the Honorable Tennessee House of Representatives is a must, among the members, for the future of ALL Tennesseans.

Seven Basic Values that I was taught in the Army:

Loyalty – Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other soldiers.

Duty – Fulfill your obligations.

Respect – Treat people as they should be treated.

Selfless Service – Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

Honor – Live up to all the Army values.

Integrity – Do what’s right, legally and morally.

Personal Courage – Face fear, danger, or adversity (physical or moral).

(I have, will, and will take these values to my end.)

I have the ambition, drive, tenacity, self-confidence, and psychological openness, to continue to be the leader for God, Country, and Family!

The future of all Tennesseans matter!

After much prayers, thoughts, and conversations, I feel obligated to run for the upcoming open- position of Speaker of the House for the remainder of the 111th General Assembly.

I would be honored to have your vote of confidence to serve as your next speaker!

Respectfully,

Jay Reedy

PS: I will not be making phone calls and harassing you for your vote. I look forward in speaking/meeting with you to discuss the future goals of the House of Representatives.

Read Rep. Mike Carter’s letter seeking the speakership

Rep. Mike Carter takes the oath of office in Nashville on Jan 8, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) has sent a letter to Republican colleagues to declare his bid for the speakership. He pledges not to change any committee chairmanships, though he calls for an overhaul of the chamber’s rules to promote integrity. Carter says he would return most political functions to the House Republican Caucus chairman.

Carter is the second member to declare his candidacy after Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough).

Read the full letter below.

Members,

Today I am writing to request your support to serve as your Speaker. I am not asking you to serve me. I am asking for the high honor to serve you and the state of Tennessee.

I state this now, no Chairmanship, no Vice-Chairmanship, nor any other title or position currently held shall be removed. To allow that would give our opponents an opportunity to claim that any removal of a title is reflective of some conduct unbecoming of that representative. Considering what we have been through and realizing that conservative leadership is essential to the progress of Tennessee, we must balance every appearance against the effect on the reelection of our members.

I will form a PAC for the benefit of the members and work diligently to restore confidence with our contributors. I will assist the Caucus Chairman whenever he feels the office of Speakership is helpful for raising money.

We must reestablish the past tradition of the Caucus Chairman being the primary political figure. In my view the Speaker shall promote a culture to restore the trust of the citizens of Tennessee while encouraging great legislation we can be proud of and run on.

A Speaker’s leadership advisory team shall be established consisting of those who do not hold Chairman or Vice-Chairmanship positions of leadership so that the opinions of all shall direct the House. With the atmosphere we’re facing we must not only live in a glass bubble we must, with the consent of the Caucus, develop new rules and procedures to prove that integrity and trust has returned to the House of Representatives. Tennessee: First in integrity.

We must undertake a complete review of all policies, procedures and rules for committees and officers.

We will continue to lead as an equal branch of government cooperating with all but cowering to none. The House controls the purse, a duty and responsibility which we will take seriously and devote appropriate assets to lead the budget process.

You will be able to walk the halls and talk in your office without fear of eavesdropping.

Members will not be intimidated, and under no circumstance shall a member be threatened with a primary opponent because of any vote taken. They should at all times vote their conscience and district.

The bylaws of the House of Representatives Republican Caucus state, ”the speaker shall conduct his or herself with the highest ethical and moral standards representing the citizens of Tennessee and the Republican Caucus.” If we are to restore public trust, a clean break is imperative. The people of Tennessee both demand and deserve it.

Respectfully submitted,

/Mike Carter/

Mike Carter

State Representative

District 29

 

So who voted against the Casada no-confidence resolution?

House Speaker Glen Casada’s inner circle dines together after the Franklin Republican won the GOP nomination to lead the chamber in November 2018.

We know the final tally of the vote to declare the House Republican Caucus had lost confidence in Speaker Glen Casada was 45-24. But in the aftermath of the secret ballot, it’s been exceedingly difficult to find members who admit to have remained supportive of the embattled speaker.

“Forty-five of us stood for what was right and just,” said Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), the first lawmaker to publicly call for Casada’s resignation. “And now, evidently, there were 68.”

We know Rep. Andy Holt made an impassioned — but unsuccessful — plea to table the resolution during the closed-door caucus meeting. But the Dresden Republican has been uncharacteristically quiet since the vote. Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) wrote an op-ed supporting Casada on the eve of the meeting, and Rep. Robin Smith (R-Hixson) spoke in his favor during the gathering.

Rep. Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro) told the Daily News Journal he voted against the resolution. And presumably Casada himself voted against. So that’s five of 24.

Everyone else seems to be rushing to the winning side of the vote, including Casada’s erstwhile allies from northeast Tennessee, Matthew and Timothy Hill and Micah Van Huss, according to WJHL-TV.

Rep. Michael Curcio (R-Dickson), who was seen as working in close concert with Casada after he was appointed judiciary chairman, raised eyebrows among colleagues for issuing a statement after the vote claiming to have been on the winning side.

Casada loses confidence vote, 45-24

House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) and Republican Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton of Crossville speak to reporters about a no-confidence vote on House Speaker Glen Casada’s leadership. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican House Speaker Glen Casada was dealt a stunning rebuke by his caucus on Monday in a 45-22 vote to declare the members had lost confidence in his ability to lead the chamber.

Casada, who was only elected speaker in January, had hoped to weather the storm surrounding his office following revelations he had engaged in lewd text message exchanges with his former chief of staff, and that the aide had once taken cocaine in his office and propositioned interns and lobbyists.

The meeting was closed to the media. A secret ballot determined the outcome.

Casada told members he will work to regain their confidence in the coming months, meaning he doesn’t plan to step aside.

UPDATE: State Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden is now calling for Casada to resign:

The vote of no confidence by the Republican caucus sends a clear message; it is time for the Speaker to heed the advice of the majority of his fellow legislators and step down from his position of leadership and allow someone else to begin the process of restoring the trust of all Tennesseans.

UPDATE 2: House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) is calling for a special session to replace Casada:

After today’s vote, it is time for the Speaker to resign, and I hereby request Governor Lee call a special session by the end of June for the House to choose a new Speaker.

Censure vs. no confidence: What does it mean?

Speculation is running rampant in advance of Mondays special House Caucus meeting about what actions will be pursued against House Speaker Glen Casada amid the scandal embroiling his office.

Some see a censure vote as less damning for Casada than a vote of no confidence. But it’s unclear what the latter would accomplish given that there’s nothing in the House GOP bylaws that lays out the penalties if the motion is successful. On the other hand, here’s what the bylaws say about a censure:

DISCIPLINARY ACTION
A member can be censured with a recommendation of the majority of leadership and a
vote of 2/3 of the Caucus. A vote of censure can take any or all of the following actions

• a letter of reprimand to be kept on file for public viewing;

• denial of attendance at a caucus function or functions;

• denial of caucus funding;

• recommendation to the state party for disqualification;

• other actions may be brought with a vote of four-fifths of the membership.

One key thing to remember on a censure is that it would take the majority of the leadership to even bring the motion to a vote. Leadership is defined as the speaker, speaker pro tem, majority leader, caucus chair, assistant leader, whip, floor leader, vice chair, secretary and treasurer. A majority would mean six votes if all 10 leaders are in attendance.

We are hearing that Casada will be given an opportunity to address the members (attendance is expected to be in the 60s out of a total of 73 Republicans), after which he will be asked to leave the room so the members can discuss matters freely.

Today’s the day for Casada to sink or swim. Or is it?

The state House Republican Caucus meets Monday afternoon at a Nashville hotel to decided whether embattled Speaker Glen Casada still has their confidence to lead the chamber.

Casada has been furiously lobbying members not to cast him aside. One idea that’s been floated is for the caucus to vote on whether to censure the speaker rather than pass a no-confidence motion, with the former being considered less fatal to his prospects to remain speaker.

Another option is for the caucus to simply vote down the no-confidence motion.

Any outcome, however, is bound to leave the speaker in a severely weakened position.

One of Casada’s major challenges is that just about every rumor floated about him feels like it might have some credence — no matter how outlandish it sounds. That means the Franklin Republican is constantly on the defensive, trying to slap down the latest whispers.

The lastest rumor spreading around the Capitol is that Casada has allegedly promised to support a primary challenger of Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) after she declared the speaker should step aside (and also because she earlier voted against the school voucher bill). Casada aides and House Republican Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton of Crossville say they are unaware of any such arrangement.

Meanwhile, Republican State Executive Committee member Randy Ellis of Harriman issued a statement calling on Casada resign as speaker:

The continued drama involving Speaker Casada has quickly turned into a National embarrassment it’s time for the Speaker to step aside and allow for new leadership. This ordeal has overshadowed all the hard work and accomplishments our legislature has worked so hard for during the last session.

It is time to end this prolonged drama. For the sake of our great party and the state of Tennessee, I call for Speaker Casada to step down as Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives.

 

Here’s the letter calling for the GOP caucus meeting on Casada

Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) speaks to fellow Republicans about his bid for House speaker on Nov. 20, 2018. He was later nominated for the position by 47 of 73 members. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Here is the letter calling for the secret House Republican Caucus meeting about Glen Casada’s speakership amid a text messaging scandal, as obtained by Stephen Elliott of the Nashville Scene.

The letter calls on Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton to “conduct the meeting in such a way as to protect the Speaker and the Caucus concerning the dissemination of the vote or comments made therein.”

THIS IS A CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION INTENDED ONLY FOR THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS. NO DISSEMINATION OF THIS COMMUNICATION ORALLY OR IN WRITING IS PERMITTED.

5/10/2019

Dear Chairman Sexton:

Pursuant to the House Republican Caucus bylaws, the undersigned members, being ten (10) or more, hereby respectfully request a Caucus meeting to be held in Nashville, Tennessee at the earliest possible date.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the sentiment of the Caucus regarding support for Speaker Glen Casada and to conduct, if duly moved by the Caucus, a secret ballot vote to establish whether Speaker Casada has the support of the Caucus to continue in his current position as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The overarching goal is that we move forward as a constructive, united Caucus for the House as a body on behalf of all Tennesseans. The meeting is called for these purposes and no other.

We request the meeting be held offsite and only Caucus members be permitted to attend. We request that you as Caucus Chair develop whatever rules you deem necessary to conduct the meeting in such a way as to protect the Speaker and the Caucus concerning the dissemination of the vote or comments made therein.

The signatures of the members below should not be construed as indicating any particular position they may take at the meeting.

Regards,

/Jerry Sexton/

Other signatories:

Rep. Mike Carter, Ooltewah

Rep. Ron Gant, Rossville

Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, Signal Mountain

Rep. Dan Howell, Cleveland

Rep. Chris Hurt, Halls

Rep. Justin Lafferty, Knoxville

Rep. John Ragan, Oak Ridge

Rep. Jay Reedy, Erin

Rep. Chris Todd, Jackson

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, Lancaster

Rep. Jason Zachary, Knoxville

Public to be barred from GOP meeting on Casada’s future

Members of the House Republican Caucus vote on a motion during a meeting to elect their nominee for speaker in Nashville on Nov. 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The public was invited to attend the House Republican Caucus meeting in November in which Rep. Glen Casada was elected as the nominee for speaker.

Not so for the meeting scheduled for Monday to decide whether members still have confidence in Casada’s leadership amid a scandal involving lewd and racist text messages.

House GOP spokesman Doug Kufner said the meeting will be limited to members of the caucus. That’s at the request of those who called for the gathering, he said. Reps. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) and Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) have been identified as gathering the 10 signatures needed to hold the caucus meeting.

Some members have been told they could be required to check their mobile phones at the door for fear of details being leaked to public.