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Why incoming House speaker Glen Casada likens himself to an orchestra conductor

Glen Casada has served in many roles during his 17 years in state government.

The former Williamson County commissioner has gone from freshman lawmaker to minority caucus chairman to committee chair until most recently serving as House majority leader.

But it’s his next role that he’s relishing the most, the most important and influential in his political career. 

Next month, House lawmakers are expected to formally elect Casada to be their next speaker. 

In a recent interview with the USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee, Casada said he considers the lower chamber his home.

“The House is, I think, one of the most important instruments in state government,” said Casada, whose day job is a salesman of animal pharmaceuticals for drug giant, Merck & Co., Inc.

The 59-year-old Franklin Republican sees his next role as being a conductor.

“You’ve got to give a vision so that the orchestra members know what to play and how to do it,” he said.

Pushing for more involvement in state spending

As he did during his pitch to his Republican colleagues last month, Casada’s vision includes having the entire House more involved in the process of creating the state budget and streamlining the chamber’s committee system.  

Casada has already said he wants bring back three subcommittees to provide oversight of the state’s “prisons, children and family, and TennCare,” the state’s Medicaid program.

Likewise, Casada has made it clear he expects the House to hold more sway in deciding what gets funded in the budget. The massive document, which this year exceeded $37 billion, provides funding for everything from education and health care to basic functions of state government.  

When Casada met with Gov.-elect Bill Lee last month, he shared his thoughts on the state's spending plan.

“He understood that the House wants to be a partner with him,” Casada said of Lee. “We talked about maybe the House having expanded budget hearings and him being open to suggestions that we may have for him. He was very open to that.”

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