As the sun sets on Glen Casada’s tumultuous term as speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, we call on our state lawmakers to choose a successor who possesses true leadership qualities.
Casada’s Aug. 1 resignation from the House’s top post will end one of the state’s more controversial political chapters in recent history. His troubled tenure should also serve as a lesson to those in key roles of what to look for in selecting his successor.
Integrity, honesty and accountability are essential. Our next speaker needs to be one who can work with both Republicans and Democrats, recognize when it’s time to compromise and has the ability to rally the House membership toward a common goal.
He or she should have a proven record of working for what is best for the district that sent him to Capitol Hill. That person should be easily accessible to the people of the district he or she represents, with opportunities to meet the constituency face to face. An open-door policy means giving voters access, whether it’s in the Cordell Hull Building or via social media.
A good leader should have a thick skin. Criticism comes with any top job, and one who represents all the people needs to be able to listen to both admirers and detractors with an open mind and answer the tough questions.
Most essentially, our next House speaker needs to take responsibility. Finger pointing and assigning blame to others has become the political way. A speaker who can admit mistakes and failures would make our state a stellar example for others and the nation.
Merely wanting a title does not a leader make. While tenure may or may not play a role, it should not be the definitive factor.
We are confident such an individual exists within the House chambers. It’s up to the leaders to make us proud.