Appalling! GOP Legislators Threaten To Cut Funding If Expelled Rep. Justin Pearson Is Reinstated
Politics in Tennessee have gotten real messy.
After Democratic leader, Rep. Justin Pearson was expelled for participating in an anti-gun violence rally, his GOP opponents have now allegedly threatened the district he represents. HuffPost reports legislators have threatened to cut funding if he’s reappointed. Pearson, who represents parts of Memphis, was expelled from the Tennessee state House of Representatives last week, alongside fellow Democratic colleague, Rep. Justin Jones.
Rep. Gloria Johnson also participated in the anti-gun violence protest on the House floor following the school shooting in Nashville. Johnson, who is white, wasn’t voted out.
“I think that it is appalling that leaders in Nashville would actually threaten other elected officials in Shelby County with the removal of funds from our county if they follow the Democratic process of reappointment,” Pearson said. “It is a testament to the type of culture that we’ve been dealing with, with the supermajority of the Republican legislature in Tennessee.”
Legal counsel, including former U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, have warned GOP legislators about the retaliation. In a letter sent to Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-TN), Democratic lawyers say Pearson and Jones were expelled “not for any criminal or unethical act, but for merely exercising their constitutional rights,” according to Common Dreams. “In so acting, the House Republicans not only wrongfully stripped these representatives of their rights as duly-elected legislators but also disenfranchised the voters they were elected to represent.”
After winning a special election to the seat in January, Pearson has been the subject of drama. He was ridiculed for wearing a dashiki on the Tennessee House floor. Republican leaders tweeted “if you don’t like rules, perhaps you should explore a different career opportunity that’s main purpose is not creating them.”
All hope isn’t lost for the young leader. The Chairman of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners announced that a special meeting will be held to determine whether Pearson will be reinstated to his District 86 House seat.