NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — While you’re in the state legislature, Rep. Aftyn Behn (D-Nashville) will be hard to miss. On Wednesday, she donned an all-hot pink pantsuit for her swearing-in.
“Oh, it’s political Barbie,” she said with a smile. “So, as my mom indicated, this has been the year of powerful females adding a billion dollars to the economy – not me.”
Behn is no stranger to Capitol Hill. Back in 2019, she was kicked out of the House gallery for protesting former Speaker Glen Casada’s inaction toward former representative David Byrd. Byrd was accused of sexually assaulting several teenagers, though he was never officially charged.
“What has been said about me is that I’m an activist and that I’ll be screaming in people’s faces when I get here,” Behn said. “That is not my politic.”
The new representative joins the legislature during one of the most polarizing eras of state politics in history.
“I am someone who is able to sit and listen to a different point of view and not be screaming consistently,” Behn said. “I don’t think that’s helpful.”
She joins just 11 other women in the Tennessee House.
“We need another female in our caucus, so that’s fantastic. It’s great to have strong women and female voices representing the people of Tennessee,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons said. “We have too few of those, especially young women.”
Behn is one of two new representatives to join the legislature this General Assembly via special election. Rep. Justin Jones (D-Nashville) and Rep. Justin Pearson (D-Memphis) technically won back their seats after they were expelled via special election.
News 2 reached out to Hill to also ask about his journey to the legislature. Through a Republican press secretary, he politely declined.
Hill has served in the legislature before, as recently as 2020. He then ran for Congress and lost to Rep. Diana Harshbarger by a few percentage points in the Republican primary.