Expelled Members of ‘Tennessee Three’ Win Back State House Seats – Rolling Stone

Justin Pearson Justin Jones

Tennessee Reps. Justin Pearson and Justin Jones — the two Democratic reps who were expelled by Republicans in April as punishment for participating in a gun control protest on the House floor — officially won back their legislative seats on Thursday night, the Associated Press reported.

Jones won his race for his state House seat in Nashville, defeating Republican Laura Nelson, while Pearson won his election in Memphis, against independent candidate Jeff Johnston. Both young Black lawmakers were previously reinstated by local government officials after being ousted from the legislature, but still had to run in this month’s primary elections in June and general elections this month.

According to unofficial results from the Tennessee’s Secretary of State’s office, both Jones and Pearson easily defeated their opponents in districts that favor Democrats to win. “I think if we keep running this race, there will be victory after victory after victory,” Pearson said to supporters on Thursday, per AP. The lawmaker emphasized that the reinstatement was made possible thanks to Black women and work they accomplished to help him and other politicians succeed.

Pearson, Jones, and their fellow Rep. Gloria Johnson participated in a protest calling for more stringent gun control legislation in the aftermath of a mass shooting in March at the Covenant School in Nashville. The trio led chants on the House floor, and approached the podium to deliver remarks without being recognized by the chair, in violation of the chamber rules.

What typically might result in a formal reprimand turned into an effort to fully remove the dubbed “Tennessee Three” from government. Pearson and Jones were expelled, and Johnson, who is white, avoided removal by a margin of a single vote. 

In a commentary for Rolling Stone in May, Pearson called for Americans to stand up to the NRA and demand that the GOP finally take action on guns. “I went to the well of the Statehouse with state Reps. Justin Jones and Gloria Johnson to uplift the voices of the grieving Covenant parents, frightened children, and stunned Nashville community to shine a light on what matters more than the right to bear arms: the right to be alive,” he wrote.

He continued, “The status quo is unacceptable. We’re done with mass murders, slaughters of children, and the abrogation of our true freedoms: the right to live, to thrive, to be treated equally regardless of what we look like, what gender we are, whom we love, where we live, or how little our income might be.”


Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/tennessee-three-democrats-expelled-win-state-house-seats-1234800662/

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