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Rep. Gloria Johnson, who survived GOP’s push to punish her, says it’s ‘pretty clear’ why she was spared but 2 Black Democratic lawmakers were thrown out

Rep. Justin Pearson, Rep. Justin Jones, Rep. Gloria Johnson People hold their hands up as they exit the House Chamber doors at the Tennessee State Capitol Building, in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 3, 2023.Rep. Justin Pearson, Rep. Justin Jones, Rep. Gloria Johnson People hold their hands up as they exit the House Chamber doors at the Tennessee State Capitol Building, in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 3, 2023.

Nicole Hester/USA Today Network/Reuters

  • Rep. Gloria Johnson said it’s “pretty clear” why two Black lawmakers were expelled from Tennessee’s House of Representatives. 
  • All three were facing expulsion for disrupting a session last week to protest gun violence. 
  • Republicans kicked out Reps. Justin Pearson and Justin Jones on Thursday night. Johnson was spared.

Tennessee state Rep. Gloria Johnson said it’s “pretty clear” why the state’s Republicans expelled two Black Democratic lawmakers while she held on to her seat. 

“I’m a 60-year-old white woman and they are two, young Black men,” Johnson told CNN when asked why she thought she was spared in Tennessee’s House of Representatives.

Last Thursday, Johnson, along with Reps. Justin Pearson and Justin Jones, interrupted a House session to protest gun violence in the state. Their demonstrations came just days after a shooter opened fire at Nashville’s Covenant School, killing three students and three adult staff members. 

At Monday’s meeting, GOP members of the House introduced three nearly identical expulsion resolutions to expel all three from their positions over the disruption, citing the state’s Constitution, which states “Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.” 

The final vote took place Thursday evening, and Republicans voted out Pearson and Jones

The Tennessee House voted 72-25 to expel Jones, with Pearson also expelled after a 69-26 vote, according to CNN.

But the motion to expel Johnson, who has been a member of the House for years, failed with a 65-30 vote, falling one vote short of the two-thirds majority required to remove her.

Johnson said both Jones and Pearson were spoken to “in a demeaning way” during Thursday’s vote. She added the GOP members of the House were implying, “you know, if you’re going to come into this body then you have to act like this body and that sort of thing.”  

“I am listening to the questions and the way they were questioned and the way they were talked to. I was talked down to as a woman, mansplained to, but it was completely different from the questioning that they got,” Johnson told CNN.
“And this whole idea that, you know, that you have to almost assimilate into this body to be like us.”

The punishments further solidify the GOP’s stranglehold on Tennessee state politics: Republicans in the state’s House now have a wider advantage with 75 members compared to Democrats’ 22 — down two with Jones and Pearson being removed.

Critics decried the move, with President Joe Biden calling it “shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent.”

Read the original article on Business Insider
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