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Nashville’s Metro Council unanimously voted to reinstate Democrat Justin Jones to his seat in the Tennessee House. Last week, Republicans voted to oust Jones and fellow Democrat Justin Pearson. Rep. Gloria Johnson, a white woman, dodged expulsion by just one vote.
“Justin Jones has been elected to the vacancy of Tennessee House 52 pursuant to the state law and the rules governing the Metropolitan Council,” Vice Mayor Jim Shulman declared at Monday’s specially-called meeting.
Jones joined demonstrators on the steps of the Capitol following his triumphant return.
“Today we are sending a resounding message that democracy will not be killed in the comfort of silence. Today we send a clear message to Speaker Cameron Sexton that the people will not allow his crimes against democracy to happen without challenge.”
Pearson’s vacant District 86 seat will be addressed during a special meeting of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners in Memphis on Wednesday afternoon.
Vice President Kamala Harris met with the “Tennessee Three” in Nashville last week, praising them for their courage during a fiery speech.
“We are here because [Jones, Pearson and Johnson] and their colleagues in the Democratic caucus chose to show courage in the face of extreme tragedy,” Harris said. “They chose to lead and show courage and say that a democracy allows for places where the people’s voice will be heard and honored and respected.”
President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama issued statements condemning their expulsion.
“A democracy says you do not silence the people, you do not stifle the people, you do not turn off their microphones when they are speaking,” Harris added. “These leaders had to get a bullhorn to be heard.”