Oregon House Majority Leader Julie Fahey (D-14) denounced the expulsion of two of the three Tennessee House members for joining anti-gun protester chants in the chamber.
On April 6, 2023, Tennessee House Republicans ousted their Democratic colleagues, Freshmen Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. The third, Rep. Gloria Johnson, survived the expulsion vote. When asked why she thought she was spared, Rep. Johnson told reporters: “Well, I think it’s pretty clear. I’m a 60-year-old white woman, and they are two young Black men.”
She noted the differences in how they were questioned. For example, their accusers used racist and demeaning language when they addressed Jones and Pearson. Additionally, Johnson recalled that they were told: “If you’re going to come into this body, you’re going to have to act like this body.”
Essentially, Tennessee GOP lawmakers’ message was clear: They would not address the senseless gun deaths in their state. The most recent shooting massacre in the state happened at The Covenant School on March 27, leaving six dead — three adults and three 9-year-old children.
Oregon Lawmaker Responds to Tennessee Representatives Ousting
The Oregon House Majority Office issued a statement about Tennessee Republican lawmakers expelling two Democrat colleagues.
Representative Fahey recalled Tennessee’s House vote: “I watched in alarm as [they] voted to expel two of its members. “I firmly believe that the actions in Tennessee were blatant abuse of the legislative process and a disturbing erosion of our democratic norms.”
She further commented on the extraordinary move to expel an elected official and her experience with two expulsion processes in Oregon.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
AP: Tennessee’s House expels 2 of 3 Democrats over guns protest; by Kimberlee Kruesi and Jonathan Mattise
AP: Nashville shooter who killed 6 drew maps, surveilled school; by Jonathan Mattise, Travis Loller, and Holly Meyer
Snopes: Fact Check: Did Rep. Gloria Johnson Say She Wasn’t Expelled from Tennessee House Because She’s White? By Nur Ibrahim
State of Oregon House of Representatives: Statement from Majority Leader Fahey on Undemocratic Expulsion of State Representatives Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson of Tennessee (PDF)