Tennessee Republicans voted on Thursday to remove Justin Jones, a Democratic member from the state House for speaking out of turn during a gun violence protest and breaking House rules.
The house moved forward with the proceeding to eject the other two representatives, Gloria Johnson and Justin Pearson. They represent the three largest cities in Tennessee.
Their offense was joining protesters last week in Nashville seeking gun safety reform following a deadly school shooting, in which seven were killed, including the shooter. Without being called on by House GOP leadership, members approached the lectern and led chants on the House floor, temporarily suspending legislative business.
Jones was expelled from office in a majorly party-line vote, 72-25, that was led by the Republican majority. The votes for the other two democrats are likely to have similar results.
Who is Justin Jones?
Justin Jones is an American politician and activist from Tennessee. He was a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives for District 52 from January 23 until his removal on April 6, 2023.
Justin was born on August 25, 1995, in Oakland. He attended Vanderbilt Divinity School. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Fisk University.
During high school, Jones organized rallies to protest against “stand your ground laws” after Trayvon Martin’s death, as per his campaign bio. In university, he participated in political activism, including a 62-day sit-in outside the Tennessee State House in protest of the controversial Dakota Pipeline construction at Standing Rock.
Jones worked with local community activist groups, including the Tennessee Healthcare Campaign, a non-profit that advocates for affordable healthcare for all state residents.
In October 2018, Jones was arrested for refusing to leave a rally held by Marsha Blackburn.
Last year, he ran for the open house seat for Tennessee’s 52nd district, which includes Nashville. He had no opponents in general elections.