MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — The Chairman of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners announced that a special meeting will be held to determine whether to reinstate Justin J. Pearson to his District 86 House seat.
Pearson was one of two Democrats expelled from the House after leading a protest to call attention to gun deaths on the House floor. Republican leadership said the protest violated House rules.
Pearson won a special election to the seat in January and had just been sworn in. The Shelby County Commission must appoint an interim representative until the next election.
That interim representative could be Pearson.
Mickell Lowery, chairman of the Shelby County Commission, said a special meeting has been called for Wednesday to vote on the appointment.
The commissioner said the following on Sunday: “As the Chairman of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, I am required to make decisions as a leader regarding the actions of the body and at times my colleagues during heated debate. The protests at the State Capitol by citizens recently impacted by the senseless deaths of three 9-year-old children and three adults entrusted with their care at their school was understandable given the fact that the gun laws in the State of Tennessee are becoming nearly non-existent. It is equally understandable that the leadership of the State House of Representatives felt a strong message had to be sent to those who transgressed the rules. However, I believe the expulsion of State Representative Justin Pearson was conducted in a hasty manner without consideration of other corrective action methods. I also believe that the ramifications for our great State are still yet to be seen.“
“Coincidentally, this has directly affected me as I too reside in State House District 86. I am amongst the over 68, 000 citizens who were stripped of having a representative at the State due to the unfortunate outcome of the State Assembly’s vote. Therefore, the Shelby County Board of Commissioners will consider the action to reappoint Mr. Justin Pearson to his duly elected position to represent the citizens in District 86 for the State of Tennessee House of Representatives in a special called meeting on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at 1:30PM. I am certain that the leaders in the State Capitol understand the importance of this action on behalf of the affected citizens here in Shelby County, Tennessee and that we stand ready to work in concert with them to assist with only positive outcomes going forward.”