Speaker scandal revives scrutiny of Tennessee lawmakers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s GOP-dominant statehouse once again finds itself grappling with a culture that some say is harmful to women and people of color.

House Speaker Glen Casada is currently dogged by calls for his resignation after it was revealed that he exchanged text messages containing sexually explicit language about women with his chief of staff.

It is not an unfamiliar scenario: Just three years ago, former Republican Rep. Jeremy Durham was expelled after making unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact with more than 20 women.

The new round of turmoil has revived scrutiny of statehouse culture and leading lawmakers’ ability to provide a respectful working environment.

Casada has declined to step aside. He says he’s changed and has released an action plan designed to build trust in the General Assembly.

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