WASHINGTON – Tennessee House Republicans voted to expel two Democratic members from the legislature for joining student-led, peaceful protests in support of gun violence prevention. In response, interim DLCC President Heather Williams released the following statement:
“While we’re heartened that Rep. Johnson remains in the legislature, Tennessee House Republicans’ decision to expel Rep. Jones and Rep. Pearson, two young Black men, is a chilling callback to the Jim Crow era. This move is a despicable abuse of power on the part of the Tennessee GOP. Expelling duly elected members of government disenfranchises their constituents and shows that Republicans will stop at nothing to silence the voices of those speaking out against their dangerous, draconian policies.
“Republicans know their policies are unpopular — and facing pressure from a youth-led movement calling out for change, they are desperately flexing their power. State legislatures are critical battlegrounds for the ongoing fight for common-sense gun safety measures and so much more. Republicans in Tennessee and in legislatures across the country are proving they have no respect for their constituents, the rule of law, or governing — Democrats must focus down-ballot to put an end to these abuses.
“The DLCC stands with Rep. Jones and Rep. Pearson tonight and we will continue fighting with them and their Democratic colleagues for the change Tennessee desperately needs.”
The DLCC is the official Democratic Party committee dedicated to winning America’s state legislatures. Last year, the DLCC defied the odds by not losing any state legislative majorities, flipping four key chambers, and creating four new Democratic trifectas – the best midterm year for the party in power since at least 1934. State legislatures are the building blocks of our democracy and pass the policies that have the biggest impact on Americans’ day-to-day lives.