The Shelby County Board of Commissioners reinstated Justin Pearson less than a week after he was kicked out of the board for representing Tennessee House District 86.
Justin Pearson reappointed
Justin Pearson serves the people of Memphis and surrounding Shelby County. Six of the board’s 13 members, including all of the Republicans, were missing on Wednesday when they voted 7-0 to restore Pearson.
After the vote, Justin Pearson told reporters that he will be traveling to Nashville on Wednesday night to be present for Thursday’s House session.
The proposal to reinstate Justin Pearson was proposed by Commission Chairman Mickell M. Lowery, who claimed to have received feedback from throughout the country voicing opposition to the expulsion.
I think District 86 must be represented by the person who the voters placed there, and that person was me,” he stated in an interview.
Justin Pearson led a march from Memphis’s National Civil Rights Museum to the Shelby County Commission office on a Wednesday afternoon, asking rallygoers to “show me what Democracy looks like.”
This democracy, he said, would restore a “broken nation and a broken state” to its rightful place in God’s plan. A gun control advocate praised this development, saying, “This is an example of democracy that will support those who are victims of violence caused by guns instead of the NRA and gun merchants.”
In Tennessee, racial tensions have been exposed by expulsions.
Pearson’s reinstatement is the most recent development in a heated political spat that has stoked allegations of racism and poisonous partisanship on both sides. Pearson and another Black Democrat, Rep. Justin Jones, were expelled from the House by Republican members, who are overwhelmingly white and male, using a disciplinary procedure rarely utilized in the House since the 1800s. Rep. Gloria Johnson, on the other hand, was spared.
After Pearson and Jones of Nashville, together with Johnson of Knoxville, violated procedural rules to lead a protest from the House floor advocating for revisions to gun law, the Republican supermajority voted to penalize them.
When asked what could account for the disparate results, Johnson said, “It might have to do with the color of our skin.”
While both Pearson and Jones will only be serving in the assembly temporarily, they will be eligible to run in the general election in 2024.
On April 6, Pearson and Jones were expelled from the House. On Monday, Jones’s seat was returned to him.
The head of the commission argues the expulsion was rushed
Lowery, in announcing the special meeting for this coming Wednesday, acknowledged that the Republican leadership wanted to deliver “a strong message” to Representatives Pearson and Jones. He said, however, that the procedure was rushed, leading to an “unfortunate” result.
Pearson will have to face a vote on his political destiny for the second time in less than three months, this time at the commission meeting. When state Representative Barbara Cooper unexpectedly passed away just two weeks before Election Day, a special election was held in her stead in January.
Both Justin Pearson and Jones are now widely known
According to political analyst and University of Memphis professor Otis Sanford’s interview with WKNO, “it is a throwback to our racist past,” which describes the expulsion vote.
Sanford, though, believed that the expulsions would motivate young Tennesseans to become more politically active. He also predicted success for the singled-out lawmakers.
Sanford noted that both Justin Jones and Justin Pearson had demonstrated to their constituents why they should be reelected. However, it appears that they have positioned themselves as national political heavyweights.
Legislators objected to calls for stricter gun control
“The Tennessee Three,” as their supporters refer them Justin Pearson, Jones, and Johnson, spoke on the House floor in the days following the shooting deaths of six people at Nashville’s Covenant Elementary School, where the gunman was 28 years old. Students and parents flocked to the state capitol to demand more gun laws, and three senators said the GOP was doing nothing to stop the problem.
Before the vote to oust him from the House, Pearson told WPLN, “We are losing our democracy in Tennessee.” Since we stood out for gun control reform, our democracy has once again been weakened. Because we spoke up for the children and adults who will never vote, who will never become involved, who will never finish high school, and who will never live to see gun control legislation passed in their states.
On Tuesday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee proposed new gun control legislation, urging the General Assembly to broaden the state’s “order of protection” law (which is similar to “red flag” measures passed in other states to restrict the firearms access of people who pose a threat to themselves or others).
Lee also signed an executive order to improve the state’s system for conducting criminal background checks.
Like the vast majority of mass murderers, the shooter in Nashville legally obtained their weapons. Three mass shootings, including the current tragedy at the Covenant School, have occurred in Nashville, and Mayor John Cooper has acknowledged that stricter regulations could have stopped all of them.
Justin Pearson reinstated to Tennessee House (Video) Watch Now
How was Justin Pearson reinstated?
During a particular assembly of the Shelby County Commission on Wednesday, the commission decided to reinstate Justin Pearson to his House seat, while receiving acclamation from his supporters in the gallery. Following the vote, he conveyed a message to the populace of Nashville who had chosen to displace them, stating that hope cannot be expelled.