Rep. Justin Jones Restored to Tennessee House

( – One of the two Democrat representatives expelled last week from the Republican-led Tennessee House was reinstated to his position on Monday following a Nashville governing council vote to swiftly send him back to the Legislature.

Four days after Republicans stripped him of his House seat, Rep. Justin Jones was unanimously voted back in by the Nashville Metropolitan Council. The vote took a few minutes, after which Jones marched to the Capitol a few blocks away and took his oath of office once again, held on the Capitol steps. As he entered the building, supporters gathered for the event and sang “The Little Light of Mine.”

Entering the House chamber with fellow Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson, who escaped expulsion by a single vote, Jones was met with applause and made his first statement on the floor. “I stand with you,” Jones said, addressing the people of Tennessee. In his statement, he assured his supporters that “no attempt to silence us will stop us” and “will only galvanize and strengthen our movement.”

Jones was expelled from the House last week along with fellow lawmaker Justin Pearson for participating in a gun-control protest on the House floor following the deadly school shooting in Nashville carried out by Audrey Hale. One of the rules Jones broke was using a bullhorn inside the House chamber.

Pearson may also be restored to his seat on Wednesday at the Shelby County Commission meeting.

Jones’s position is only on an interim basis until special elections for the two seats are held within the next few months. Both Jones and Pearson stated that they plan to run in those elections to reclaim their seats.

In a statement, House Majority Leader William Lamberth and Chairman of the Republican Caucus, Jeremy Faison, said that “Tennessee’s constitution provides a pathway back for expulsion,” and that they “will welcome them” back should they be reappointed, but that “like everyone else, they are expected to follow the rules of the House as well as state law.”

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