Casada backs aide with history of drug use in legislative office

House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin), right, meets with colleagues on the Senate floor on May 1, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

House Speaker Glen Casada’s top aide used cocaine in the legislative suite he once shared with the future leader of the chamber, according a report by WTVF-TV’s Phil Williams.

Cade Cothren managed Casada’s campaign form the open speakership position last year and was rewarded with the nearly $200,000-per-year position of chief of staff once the Franklin Republican was formally elected in January. Cothren previously earned $68,400 as a staffer.


Within minutes of the report, Casada and Cothren issued a joint statement to the media.

“Nearly three years ago, Mr. Cothren approached me & confided in me that he was dealing with some personal issues and wanted to seek help after his struggles became apparent,” Casada said in the statement. “Knowing these issues were impacting his ability to fulfill his job duties, Mr. Cothren sought counseling and forgiveness, and has been doing an outstanding job ever since.”

Cothren accomplished since dealing with his personal issues.

“Like so many young, egotistical men aspiring to a career in politics that came before me, moving up the career ladder was met with unrelenting stress, peer pressure, and unrealistic expectations,” he said. “I know that this is not an excuse. Nonetheless, I unfortunately turned to maladaptive coping mechanisms. However, I thank God for these experiences because they’ve allowed me a unique opportunity to witness to the young men who will come after me that actions have consequences.”

15 Responses to Casada backs aide with history of drug use in legislative office

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    Norma Shirk says:

    It must be nice to snort cocaine, screw up your life, say you found God and get a 6 figure pay raise from a man who wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to demand the maximum prison sentence for a person with no political connections.

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    $68K as support staff for someone with a part time job? Does anyone else find that troubling?

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    Cash Pack says:

    Appears Casada took advantage of a kid in his twenties with drug problems and other issues, groomed him, empowered him and gave him a big pay raise. Anyone else who used cocaine in their workplace would be gone. Casada gave Cothren a second change. Made him indebted to him. Created a power dynamic where he couldn’t say no. I almost feel sorry for the kid. He’s a victim of Casada.

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    Richard Donnell says:

    “…from a man who wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to demand the maximum prison sentence for a person with no political connections.” Amen!!!

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    David Collins says:

    It’s probably more of a matter of the kid knows something on Casada that the Speaker would just as soon keep secret. Norma’s correct. If it had been some young janitor caught doing cocaine in a legislative office he’d be screaming for a maximum penitentiary sentence for the guy.

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    Eddie White says:

    Maybe I am just getting old and cynical, but I am getting tired of the bloated salaries being paid to some government employees, college presidents,faculty, and coaches, and non-profit executives. We probably have some professional athletes in the same category, but I realize they work for profit makers. They are still overpaid. High taxes and tuition are propping up to many egos. I still have this warped idea that there should be some measure of sacrifice in the government and non- profit world.

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      MarLE says:

      You are forgetting that the college Employees you just mentioned can send their kid(s) to college For Free and that there is

      No income tax at the Federal level on the “income in kind” that these dollars represent…..would be for others who receive that but it is a special carve out Perk in the tax code just for colleges. Pretty sweet deal in a family with 3 or 4 kids X 4 years! And at the college where I worked you could opt to send your child to any one of 200 other consortium member colleges.

      Btw Trump, Marsha, Diane, Scott, Corker, Alexander etc could have removed this very targeted loophole.

      We need to focus not only on Salary but on the Benefits as well.

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    Silence Dogood says:

    I am a law and order kinda person. Nonetheless, maximum sentences should go to drug dealers/traffickers, not to users. Opioid users need help and a chance to get their life back on track so they can pay taxes. Lighten up and find some compassion. And in the world of business $200,000 is tip money. So, if someone is going to corrupt him or his office then the bidding needs to start a lot higher than $200K. Not much, but it is something….

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      David White says:

      This is not the world of business! This is my money and it is more than the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House or the Supreme Court Justices make. This Legislature is a cesspool, particularly in the House!

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    Perry Aubric says:

    There are plenty of people in the business world, Silence, who do no make as much as $200K a year, much less look at it as “tip money.” Many of those are small business owners, who work their tails off hoping to turn a profit for the year. How elitist and out of touch are you?

    I agree that this young man should be able to get past his mistakes at some point, but isn’t cocaine use on the job in a state government office against the law? If the idea is that you get a second chance after you make a mistake and suffer the consequences for that, what consequences exactly did this guy suffer? None that I can see. He got a huge raise and a top position.

    As for the pressures of politics, do the staffers for Sen. Alexander or Sen. Blackburn or Governor Lee or any of our nine Members of Congress or, for that matter, White House staffers working for President Trump, get a pass on cocaine use on the job? I don’t think so. And knowing some of those staffers, I don’t think pressure and ambition have turned them in that direction. I suspect that any of those office holders would show a staffer with that behavior the door. Especially when that staffer also has publicly used such offensive and explicit racist language as this one has.

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    MarLE says:

    “Maladaptive coping mechanisms”…..that is what Cothren calls his outrageous behavior.

    Wonder what he googled to come up with that euphemism. Bet it started with the word “victim”

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