Here’s the Jake Tapper/Victor Blackwell CNN segment on Speaker Casada’s support for Rep. David Byrd, who sits as chair of an education subcommittee even after apologizing for sexual misconduct with girls he coached.
This morning in Williamson County at a Town Hall event Speaker Casada was billed to be attending, Casada was a no-show.
The rest of the Williamson delegation – Senator Jack Johnson, Rep. Sam Whitson, and Rep. Brandon Ogles -were all there, as were some CNN cameras, but Casada was nowhere to be found.
Had he been there he would’ve been confronted by survivor Ashley Massey of Lawrence County, who bravely spoke up anyway about Casada’s support for David Byrd, who can be heard admitting on tape to sexual abuse with his former high school basketball players.
Here’s the video:
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) February 22, 2019
Sam Whitson got up and left, and Brandon Ogles attempted to perpetuate the false notion that anything in the Casada video posted earlier this week was being taken “out of context”.
Yesterday we posted a video, picked up by the Tennessean, News Channel 5, Slate, and the Huffington Post, where former congressional candidate Justin Kanew confronted Tennessee Speaker of the House Glen Casada about his support for Rep. David Byrd – who has admitted on tape to sexually assaulting players he coached at Wayne County High School.
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) February 20, 2019
Former Speaker Beth Harwell asked Byrd to step down. Speaker Casada instead ran attack ads against the victims, then promoted Byrd to chair of the education subcommittee when he was re-elected with 78% of the vote.
In the video, Kanew asks Casada if he has heard the victims’ side of the story. Casada says that he has, and that in fact he met with the victims:
“They came into my office and spoke.”
Turns out that’s news to the victims.
Christi Rice, who has been the most outspoken of the three women who have leveled the allegations at Byrd, responded to Kanew’s video on twitter saying:
Justin, I knew that I had never spoken to Casada in any way; verbal, text, letter, messenger, carrier pigeon, etc but I also confirmed with the other 2 women and none of us have spoke to Glen Casada, ever. Period.
— Christi Rice (@51christi) February 19, 2019
Meanwhile Robbie Cain said in a message to Christi Rice obtained by The Holler that she had no idea who Casada was:
The 3rd victim has remained anonymous apart from the initial WSMV interview. Christi Rice is in contact with her and says she is “absolutely” sure she has not spoken with Speaker Casada:
The Holler has reached out to Casada’s office for comment, and so far has not heard back. We will update the story if we do.
So not only did Casada attack the victims, he also didn’t even take the time to talk to them to hear their stories- then lied about whether or not he did.
There’s nothing defensible about any of this. Since posting the original video the Holler has heard from countless women of all political stripes who have stories like this of their own.
Meanwhile a reliable source has told us they saw Channel 4’s Jeremy Finley and a crew being escorted from the building by security, after going down to Casada’s office to ask around about Byrd. And we also heard CNN is down there knocking on Byrd’s door.
Emily Tseffos is a mom, a teacher, a volunteer and community organizer with Enough is Enough Tennessee… and a survivor. She wrote this in response to a video we posted yesterday, where Speaker Glen Casada defended his support for admitted sex offender Rep. David Byrd, who he has now made chair of an education subcommittee while attacking Byrd’s victims and questioning why they didn’t come forward sooner.
This piece, of course, is purely hypothetical, and not at all about the allegations leveled against Rep. “Coach” David Byrd by 3 of his former players.
In a 2018 report, 3 women publicly alleged Tennessee State Representative David Byrd (Wayne, Lewis, Hardin, Lawrence counties) had sexually molested them when he was their women’s basketball coach at Wayne County High School.
The report included a recording of Byrd apologizing for it, expressing remorse, and saying he had been praying for forgiveness for it every Sunday.
Most reacted with disgust. Even members of Byrd’s own Republican party, including now-Senator Marsha Blackburn and then-Speaker Beth Harwell. Harwell even asked Byrd to step down.
Byrd refused. He ran for office again in 2018, and won in a landslide with 78% of the vote.
Newly-elected Speaker Glen Casada then promptly promoted him to chair of an Education Subcommittee, of all things.
You truly cannot make this stuff up.
Since Casada’s decision, very little has been made of Byrd’s continued presence in the legislature. A group called “Enough is Enough” has done all they can, showing up at big events like Governor Lee’s swearing in to remind Lee and Casada they’re watching, and supporting one of the victims – Christi Rice – at the Women’s March. But fellow legislators have been silent, and the media has stopped covering the matter.
Nobody has pinned Casada down for his decision – until now.
Recently, former congressional candidate Justin Kanew went to a town hall in Franklin where Speaker Casada was appearing with other members of the Williamson County delegation, and confronted Casada about his decision not only to ignore Byrd’s transgressions, but to run attack ads against the victims and elevate Byrd to chair of an education subcommittee.
Here’s the 6 minute video:
In the video Casada makes it clear he doesn’t believe Byrd did it despite his obvious admission of guilt, and even goes so far as to say if HE had been raped he would’ve come forward long before now.
As if he can possibly know what it would be like to be a young teenage girl in Wayne County who is being sexually molested by her basketball coach.
The entire situation is appalling. If you agree, please SHARE this video on FACEBOOK and TWITTER, and holler at Casada and especially Byrd and tell them you want this admitted sex offender removed from our legislature.
Rep. Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough) has introduced a bill that would make it a crime to perform or obtain an abortion in Tennessee after a fetal heartbeat is detected, with the only exception being a medical emergency – a bill that was already struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in Iowa.
The Bill has the support of both Governor Lee and Glen Casada, who told the Associated Press that he thinks it’s “a fight worth having in front of the Supreme Court.”
Even Tennessee Right to Life, a group that advocates against abortions, opposes the measure because they believe it would not survive legal challenges. It’s similar to one that was introduced in 2017 that the then Tennessee Attorney General also called “constitutionally suspect” which failed in large part due to lack of support from Tennessee Right to Life.
This bill – HB 0077 – would essentially make it a crime to provide OR receive an abortion after 8 weeks (when a fetal heartbeat is detectable), with the only exception exception being a medical emergency.
There’s no mention of rape, incest or mental health exceptions.
Close to 70,000 women a year die from unsafe abortion and numerous others suffer grave injuries, including infection, hemorrhaging, and infertility. Half of all pregnancies in this country are unintended, and, of those, half end in abortion.
This bill would do nothing to reduce unintended pregnancies, which is what abortion reduction laws should focus on. According to the CDC:
In 2006, 49% of pregnancies were unintended—a slight increase from 48% in 2001.
Among women aged 19 years and younger, more than 4 out of 5 pregnancies were unintended.
The proportion of pregnancies that were unintended was highest among teens younger than age 15 years, at 98%.
Large increases in unintended pregnancy rates were found among women with lower education, low income, and cohabiting women.
The National Institutes of Health tells us there are several approaches that have been shown to be effective in reducing unintended pregnancies:
Ensure birth control and family planning is freely available to adolescents and adults
Sex education programs, which provide information on abstinence and contraceptive use and do NOT encourage the onset of sexual intercourse nor increase the frequency of intercourse among adolescents. (In fact, quite the opposite)
Expand Medicaid (as most other states have) so low-income mothers can have access to family planning and prenatal care that helps prevent birth defects.
Medicaid is pro-life. Rejecting $6 billion of our own federal dollars isn’t making mothers or children any safer. We should join the majority of the country and expand medicaid now.
Rep. Jim cooper has a bill that would give us even less excuse for not doing it.
Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) responded to the Heartbeat bill by telling The Holler: “We need to trust women. It’s a rights issue. If you don’t allow a woman to make decisions about her own body, you don’t believe in equal rights.” Johnson continued, “We do not need the government in our doctors’ offices. It’s always one of those ‘small government’ guys who comes in with a bill to regulate women’s health care.”
6 in 10 women say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
A study from the Center For American Women shows Tennessee is well below the average for female representation in our state legislature, ranking in the bottom 10 states.
28% of state legislators nationwide are women – two-thirds of which are Democrats – but here in Tennessee that number is only 15%.
We have some work to do here.
Meanwhile of those 28%, just over 1 in 5 are women of color. Currently Juanita Charles is running to increase both totals in a special election in Clarksville, for the seat Mark Green left behind.
Rep. David Byrd, who you’ll recall admitted on tape to sexually molesting girls he coached in Wayne County and was asked to step down by his own party before running again, getting re-elected, and getting promoted by Speaker Casada to the most unthinkably insulting post of all, just chaired his first subcommittee meeting.
Thankfully, all 6 members of the committee meeting spoke out in defiance of Byrd, and he is now stepping down.
Just kidding! Nobody said anything. Instead they went around making jokes about “interesting facts”, and acted like having a pedophile in charge was just another day at the office.
Go here to read Andy Spears’ post over at the TN Education Report.
This issue isn’t going away any time soon, and neither are we. Feel free to reach out to Speaker Casada and Byrd and let them know how you feel about this insult to women and survivors and frankly everyone in our state.