NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — All Tri-Cities-area state representatives voted in favor of expelling three Democratic lawmakers from the Tennessee House on Thursday.
Democratic Reps. Justin Jones of Nashville and Justin Pearson of Memphis were removed for their roles in a gun violence protest on the House floor last week. An effort to also expel Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) came up one vote short.
Reps. Rebecca Alexander (R-Jonesborough), Scotty Campbell (R-Mountain City), John Crawford (R-Bristol/Kingsport), David Hawk (R-Greeneville), Tim Hicks (R-Gray), Gary Hicks (R-Rogersville), John Holsclaw (R-Elizabethton), and Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) voted in favor of ousting all three.
Hulsey was the sponsor of the resolution calling for Jones’ expulsion.
Campbell told News Channel 11 on Wednesday that he would vote for kicking the three lawmakers out. On Thursday, he said he wasn’t swayed by the hours of debate.
“We have to have rules, we have to have law and order just like society does,” Campbell said.
Hawk spoke on the House floor while lawmakers were considering Pearsons’ expulsion. In response to Democrats’ complaints of being marginalized in the legislature, he said he faced challenges too when he was first elected and Republicans were in the minority.
“Early on, I couldn’t get a bill heard, I couldn’t get recognized in committee,” Hawk said. “I had a challenging time even having a conversation on the floor about a concern that I had.”
But “two wrongs don’t make a right,” Hawk said.
Pearson responded that past mistreatment wasn’t an excuse for current mistreatment.
“That is not how we sustain our democracy,” Pearson said.