Ousted Tennessee Democratic State Representative Justin Pearson made the claim that the voters inside of the district he represented were "disenfranchised" due to his expulsion.
During an appearance on ABC's "This Week," Pearson took the time to address the issue. Pearson and fellow Democratic State Rep. Justin Jones were kicked out of the Tennessee House this past week after they made use of a bullhorn to lead a series of loud chants on the floor of the House itself in the wake of gun control activists storming the Tennessee State Capitol and interrupted the legislative session.
"The expulsion left your constituents, obviously, now without a representative in the state House," claimed Jonathan Karl, the host of the show. "The Shelby County Board of Commissioners will have to send a replacement for you. Are they going to send you? Can we see you reinstated as early as next week?"
"Yeah, I do hope to continue to serve District 86 and the reappointment. And if there is a special election, I would definitely run in the special election, because our voters have been disenfranchised. This is one of the greatest tactics of voter disenfranchisement and voter oppression that I have ever witnessed."
"It is not only unprecedented, it is historical in nature," Pearson went on. "It’s a historical abuse of power by [Tennessee House Speaker] Cameron Sexton and the supermajority of Republican [legislators] who would rather expel our voices and try to expel our people’s voices from the people’s house rather than address issue of gun violence and the need for gun safety reform legislation that could prevent people from dying in the first place."
"But District 86, and our community, and District 52 as well, Representative Jones’ community, wants to see us to serve them and to speak up and to speak out when people like Cameron Sexton and the Republican leadership would rather be silent or silence Democrats and progressive voices."
Former TN state Rep. Justin Pearson tells @JonKarl that he expects to be quickly reappointed after his "unprecedented" expulsion.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 9, 2023
Pearson ended up being kicked out after a vote resulted at 69-26 in favor of removing him. Jones was kicked out in a vote of 72-25. An additional vote to remove Democrat Rep. Gloria Johnson ended up failing by a single vote. Johnson took part in the demonstration but did not use a bullhorn.
After the expulsion of Pearson, those in the gallery hurled vulgarities at Republicans, with at least one of the protesters starting to cry loudly while screaming "shame."