Tennessee Lawmaker Justin Pearson Reappointed Less Than a Week After Expulsion Over Gun Reform Protests

Democratic State Representative Justin Pearson makes his way to the Tennessee State Capitol building after being sworn in on April 13, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee

Justin Pearson joined Justin Jones in being reappointed to Tennessee’s House after they were both expelled by the legislature’s Republican supermajority.

Less than a week after his expulsion, Tennessee lawmaker Justin Pearson was reappointed to the State legislature by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners.

On Wednesday the board decided, with a 7-0 vote, to reinstate Pearson, according to NPR

"I think that it's important that the people of District 86 are represented by the person that they voted overwhelming to have in the office," Chairman of the Commission, Mickell M. Lowery, said in an interview, NPR reported. Pearson represents Tennessee House District 86, which includes the city of Memphis. 

Pearson and fellow Democrat Justin Jones were expelled from the House after leading a chant from the House floor to advocate for gun reform. Republican lawmakers accused Pearson and Jones of violating House rules for behavior and decorum, which led to their expulsion.

Thousands of emails and calls from Shelby County residents and from others around the world begging to see Pearson reinstated were received by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, according to The New York Times

“We’ve got people that we have an allegiance to, who are willing to march for justice, who are willing to fight for justice, who are willing to vote for justice, and it is that spirit which I will head back to Nashville with,” Pearson said after the vote, the New York Times reported.

When re-election occurs in the coming months, both Pearson and Jones have said they will be running to regain their seats. 

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