RICHMOND, VA – Yesterday, in a historic act of partisan retaliation, the GOP-controlled Tennessee House voted 72-25 to expel Rep. Justin Jones, and 69-26 to expel Rep. Justin Pearson, because these two brave lawmakers halted the House’s proceedings to join protesters in the wake of a mass shooting at a private Christian school.
After the partisan expulsion of these two Democratic state representatives, DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker issued the following statement:
“Six Tennesseans were gunned down in a classroom, and the GOP’s focus is not on stopping the next unspeakable act of gun violence, but on exacting political revenge.
There is nothing more American than peaceful protest, and this shameful act of partisan retaliation is sadly characteristic of today’s GOP. They refuse to protect our children, and they punish those that demand that they do.
Expulsions were used during the Jim Crow era to prevent Black lawmakers from having a voice in their legislature. It has not gone unnoticed that the GOP House members did not expel their white colleague who did the exact same thing as Representatives Jones and Pearson.
I am proud of our neighbors in Tennessee – Reps. Jones and Pearson – for their bravery and their willingness to sacrifice their positions for what is right. Their actions are a profile in courage. The actions of their Republican colleagues who voted to expel them are a profile in cowardice, partisanship, and demagoguery.”