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That Backfired! Justin Pearson Has Been Reinstated to the Tennessee Legislature
In a landmark decision, Shelby County commissioners have voted to reinstate one of the 'Tennessee Three,' Justin Pearson, to the Tennessee Legislature. Pearson will hold his seat on an interim basis until a special election is held, in which he plans to compete for the permanent position.
The 'Tennessee Three' refers to a group that includes Democrat Rep. Justin Pearson, who represents Shelby County, Rep. Justin Jones of Davidson County, and Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville. While Pearson and Jones were both expelled from their legislative posts, Johnson narrowly avoided expulsion by a solitary vote.
“When we went to the well of the House myself, Rep. Johnson and Rep. Jones, we said we have an allegiance to a people, people who are tired of business as usual," Pearson explained. “We do not speak alone. We speak together. We fight together. So a message for all the people in Nashville who decided to expel us: You can’t expel hope. You can't expel our voice. You sure can’t expel our fight.”
The recent vote allowing Pearson to retake his seat mirrors the reinstatement of Justin Jones last week, giving hope to the embattled legislators. Prior to the decisive vote, Pearson, Jones, Johnson, and numerous supporters passionately marched to the Shelby County Board of Commissioners to plead their case.
With the two of the expelled House members now back in their legislative seats and a special election on the horizon, the group's resilience is making headlines and providing fodder for an engrossing political narrative.
This move seemingly has backfired on Republicans, bringing more attention to both Jones and Pearson, as well as their protests against gun violence. Republicans likely didn’t think this through all of the way.
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