NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee’s expulsion of two members from the House of Representatives has gained attention across the country, prompting a group from Washington, D.C. to get some boots on the ground in Nashville to mobilize voters.
On March 30, Reps. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville), Justin Jones (D-Nashville), and Justin Pearson (D-Memphis) led a gun control protest on the House floor following the deadly Covenant School shooting.
One week later, Jones and Pearson were expelled, but Johnson narrowly held on to her seat.
“They literally were yelling and screaming from the middle of the room, they had signs on the house floor. They were trying to incite a riot,” Rep. William Lamberth (R-Sumner County) said.
“There was the actions of them leading the House in protest to such a disruptive behavior, I had to shut the House down in order to gain control of it,” House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Cumberland County) added.
The expulsion led the president and CEO of People For the American Way, Svante Myrick, to come to Nashville on Saturday, April 8.
“We would be here on the ground even if I disagreed with them because an expulsion of an elected official is an extremely dangerous slide for a democratic country to take, and we’re here to defend against a slide,” Myrick said.
Myrick — who is the former mayor of Ithica, New York — called the expulsion rare.
“It is so unusual — dangerously, alarmingly unusual — to kick elected officials out of office for a manners infraction,” he added.
People For the American Way is pushing for Tennessee lawmakers to reinstate Jones and Pearson.
In addition, Myrick urges Tennesseans to register to vote.
“If this becomes a trend in which the governing majority can kick out of office people who have committed no crime, people who have a different set of views, this nation will end up at war with themself,” Myrick said.
If you’re unsure of your voting status, you can check that online using the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website.