PHOTO: Brad Fiscus said he would still serve out his term as a member of the Williamson County Schools’ Board of Education even if he wins the election for District 63 in the Tennessee State Legislature. / File photo by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
Brad Fiscus had a busy Tuesday.
One day after he announced his intention to run against Rep. Glen Casada for the District 63 seat in the Tennessee State Legislature in 2020, Fiscus was fully caught up in campaign mode.
He and his campaign treasurer, Katie Lee, were getting his campaign account opened and making sure all the necessary paperwork was filed. He was in touch with his campaign managers, Robert and Erin Westrich, discussing early strategy for a race that won’t officially begin until petitions can be pulled in February next year.
And along the way on the hot July day, Fiscus was tending to his work responsibilities as director of Next Gen Discipleship ministry in the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church, and also found time to drop by the central office of Williamson County Schools in his role as District 4 school board member.
“It’s exciting,” Fiscus said, pointing out all the support he has received through social media and otherwise after he announced his decision to run as an independent in the 2020 state House election.
“I just feel like that this is an opportunity for me to enter a race and a level of office that I’ve always wanted to do. The timing is good.”
In more ways than one, of course. Fiscus has thrown his hat in the ring just as Casada is on the verge of being removed as House speaker next week after reports in early May revealed text messages suggesting that his former chief of staff, Cade Cothren, had engaged in inappropriate, and potentially illegal, behavior. Evidence showed that Cothren had sent sexually explicit messages to and about female interns, used racially derogatory remarks such as the n-word, and had used cocaine in the state legislative offices. Casada was also found to have engaged Cothren in some of the text messages.
Fiscus said he and his wife, Dr. Shelley Fiscus, have had concerns about Casada for some time.
“We became dissatisfied with his leadership, quite honestly,” Fiscus said. … “We were embarrassed. Our district deserves someone with integrity, our district deserves someone that’s able to deal with the state and the people they’re serving and not have to have their personal issues taking up all the time. This whole ordeal has cost a lot of taxpayer money.”
Fiscus is also an advocate for public schools, and he sees the latest school voucher and the Education Savings Account programs supported by Casada and signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee as a threat to schools across the state. Though the programs are currently only for failing schools in Davidson and Shelby counties, Fiscus has said before that the doors are now open for them to be in other school systems across the state.
As for Casada, he apparently plans to keep his seat in District 63 even though he will likely lose his place as House speaker when the House Republican Caucus meets July 24. Through a spokesperson, Casada said he welcomes opposition in the next election.
“Elections are critical in preserving our democracy both in Tennessee and across this nation,” he said. “That is why I have always encouraged citizens to run for office.”
Fiscus, by the way, plans to keep his seat on the WCS Board of Education win or lose in the state Legislative election. He was elected to a four-year term in 2018.
“I am blessed to serve on the Williamson County Board of Education in District 4,” Fiscus said through his Facebook page. “I am dedicated to serving this district throughout my term to 2022. One of the first things I did while discerning if this was the right time to run for state House was to check whether there was a prohibition of serving both on the school board and in the state Legislature. There is not, [but] had there been, I would have delayed my decision until the 2022 election cycle.”