Tennessee Black Caucus Takes Issue With Casada’s Diversity Training Proposal | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee Black Caucus Takes Issue With Casada’s Diversity Training Proposal

May 10, 2019

Members of Tennessee House of Representatives' Black Caucus said Friday they have not agreed to work with Speaker Glen Casada on diversity training.

That’s despite a claim by Rep. Casada earlier this week, which was part of a response to the release of racist and sexist text messages between him and a top aide.

In his action plan, Casada explicitly said the Black Caucus will be working with the Speaker’s office to create “appropriate diversity training” for members and staff.

More: Casada Attempts Damage Control, Issuing Apology And Promising Diversity Training 

But that’s news to Memphis Rep. G. A. Hardaway, the chairman of the Black Caucus.

“We have not confirmed a working relationship with the Speaker, one way or the other," Hardaway told reporters Friday. "That came from the Speaker’s office. That was not our writing. We did not agree.”

In a statement, Casada’s office did not answer why the speaker declared a partnership with the Black Caucus.

“The Speaker’s office has had initial conversations with members of the Black Caucus, and it is our goal to continue these discussions to address any remaining concerns the group has," the statement said.

Hardaway said they are still upset about how Casada's now-former top aide, Cade Cothren, handled an email exchange with local activist Justin Jones.

They want an investigation into whether there was an effort by Casada’s office to mislead prosecutors into thinking Jones had violated a no-contact order.

In a news release sent on Friday, Casada said a special prosecutor had been appointed by the District Attorney General's Conference to look into the matter. The case will be assigned to the district attorney in Coffee County, according to a spokesman for Nashville's DA. 

Casada says he's instructed his office to cooperate with the probe.

"My desire is for this independent review to be completed as quickly and thoroughly as possible and for all the facts to come out," he said.

A spokesman for the Speaker said Casada plans to meet with the Black Caucus next week.