‘No Justins, No Peace’ Georgia Democrats condemn Tennessee expulsion vote

Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 6:14 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - On Friday, Georgia Democrats condemned the actions of the Tennessee General Assembly after the Republican-led House expelled two Black Democratic lawmakers.

“Until there are Justins, there will be no peace, both of them,” said Rep. Inga Willis (D- District 55).

Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson were expelled after participating in a protest on the House floor, calling for stricter gun control legislation after a school shooting in Nashville.

Both Jones and Pearson are Black. Rep. Gloria Johnson, who is White, survived an expulsion vote to keep her seat.

“This is clearly an overreach by the Republican party to exercise their racist actions to silence voices and divide democracy,” said Rep. Kim Schofield (D – District 63).

In a Friday interview, Tennessee House Speaker Rep. Cameron Sexton rejected the narrative of racism explaining how Johnson’s attorneys defended her.

“She was not as active as the other two. She didn’t grab the bullhorn. She didn’t scream and yell,” said Sexton, in an interview with FOX News.

On Friday, Georgia Democrats held a virtual press conference less than 24 hours after the expulsion vote.

“The Georgia House Democrats stand with our colleagues in Tennessee. They may have tried to steal your power and silence your voices but this isn’t over,” said Rep. Michelle Au (D- District 50).

Democrats also announced they launched a fundraising effort to support Rep. Jones and Rep. Pearson.

Atlanta News First reached out to Georgia Republicans for a reaction to Tennessee’s expulsion vote but did not hear back in time for publication.

Rep. James Beverly, Georgia’s House Minority Leader, does not believe a similar expulsion vote could happen in Georgia.

“I don’t think it happens in Georgia,” crediting the level of diversity in the House.

“When you have that diversity coming in, we’re going to take advantage of that,” continued Rep. Beverly.

Rep. Beverly said he plans to meet with Georgia’s House Speaker, Jon Burns, to make any necessary changes to the state’s charter to ensure an expulsion vote could not happen at the detriment of either party.

He also said Tennessee’s vote distracts from the issue that sparked the controversy.

“If the speaker of the House in Georgia and I sit down and we want to solve gun violence, and we do… We’re going to have to have tough conversations. And you’ve got to stay there. You got to stay in that work until it’s done,” said Beverly.