Knoxville Rep. Gloria Johnson says she has no regrets ahead of potential expulsion

On Monday, during the session in the House, Gloria Johnson, a Tennessee State Representative from Knoxville and one of the three Democratic representatives, could potentially face expulsion for exercising their right to speak.

Johnson informed WATE, the sister station of News Channel 11, that they could possibly be subjected to an expulsion vote for violating a regulation by speaking on the House floor without authorization, lasting approximately 20 seconds.

Johnson stated, “If we showed concern for their problem and informed them of our presence and purpose for acknowledging the individuals, we would move towards the podium amidst legislative matters. Therefore, a few colleagues and I concluded that the majority of us were prohibited from speaking during the voucher vote,” clarifying the events leading up to the contentious incident. “We were disheartened by our inability to address the crowd and express gratitude for those advocating for their children’s lives. This frustration persisted throughout the morning while we were on the House floor during an ongoing session.”

Following the demonstration, students, guardians, and advocates assembled at the Tennessee Capitol to express their discontent. Nashville students actively participated in a walkout, wherein three 9-year-old youngsters tragically lost their lives due to the shooting incident. The demonstration at the Tennessee General Assembly occurred a week subsequent to the unfortunate event where six individuals tragically lost their lives in a mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville.

“They were begging us to do something and I cannot listen to the cries of moms and dads and children and do nothing.”

Gloria Johnson

Johnson stated that the remaining part of their criticized activity, like one member using a loudspeaker, occurred during a break. She mentioned that they addressed the assembly for approximately 20 seconds before their microphone was disconnected and a break was announced. Johnson acknowledged that this would violate a rule of the House, but she believed it was necessary to advocate for the constituents in her district, as well as those beyond the premises and outside the House chambers.

Johnson exclaimed, “We never could have imagined that we would try to expel members in the body for speaking on behalf of their constituents when we were not allowed to do so previously, in a million years.”

Johnson stated that she believed it was worthwhile and she is aware that she made the correct decision.

Johnson stated, “We have to discuss the desire for gun legislation with the majority of Tennesseans. It was worth it for me to break the rule of speaking about gun violence happening in our grocery stores, restaurants, churches, and schools. I am on the right side of history.”

Johnson stated that the endorsement of red flag laws and gun sense legislation by Republicans in Knoxville indicates a prevailing sentiment. In the previous year, Tennessee’s legislators were divided on red flag laws, with certain individuals contending that they violate the constitution and are not effective. On the contrary, proponents argued that these laws would prevent the access to firearms for those who do not require them.

Johnson stated that on the floor of the U.S. Congress, it has been accomplished previously. The assertion of the three legislators is not revolutionary, according to Johnson.

“Sometimes, in order to bring attention to the issue of people killing and children killing in our communities, we have to take a stand and ask what’s going on for just a few minutes. Sometimes, they knew they were breaking a rule by sitting on the House floor, but they did it to be heard. John Lewis, the representative, knew that this exact same thing happened a couple of years ago on the floor of Congress because of gun violence. Sometimes, you have to get into trouble to make a positive impact.”

Johnson also cautioned that in the Tennessee General Assembly, individuals should remain cognizant of the unfolding proceedings. She further stated that her actions have garnered a significant amount of “tremendously encouraging” feedback, even from members of the Republican party.

Johnson stated, “is risky language. It was more severe than the uprising, and he believed his life was in jeopardy and for him to claim that everything was calm and it absolutely did not. That did not occur. He stated they were attempting to breach the House floor, but he is attempting to retract that statement. And he was referring to the demonstrators when he discussed what occurred at the Capitol, and he went on national television and deceived. It is astonishing the speaker. There is no limit to what we will witness from them if the Republicans succeed in removing three of the most outspoken members in the legislature for daring to express themselves without authorization, what individuals must comprehend”.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, the trio of legislators contested Sexton’s remarks, referring to the peaceful protests at the capitol as an “uprising”.