Calls for Republican Tennessee House speaker to resign have 'mounted rapidly': report

Calls for Republican Tennessee House speaker to resign have 'mounted rapidly': report

The far-right Republican supermajority in the Tennessee State Legislature has been inundated with negative publicity following the mass shooting at Nashville's Covenant Presbyterian School on March 27. First, GOP state lawmakers rejected any type of gun control measure. Then, they voted to expel two of their Democratic colleagues — State Rep. Justin Jones and State Rep. Justin Pearson — for participating in a pro-gun control demonstration.

Now, Republican Tennessee House Cameron Sexton is, according to The New Republic's Tori Otten, "facing growing calls to resign amid reports he has lied to his constituents." Sexton, Otten reports, has "has come under fire after reporter Judd Legum learned the speaker secretly purchased a $600,000 house in Nashville, where he and his family live year-round."

"Nashville is not in the district Sexton represents, but Sexton claims to live in a condo in Crossville, a city two hours from the state capital and within the boundaries of his district," Otten explains in an article published by The New Republic on April 17. "And as Legum reported in his newsletter, Popular Information, Sexton has, for years, claimed daily reimbursements of about $313, which are paid by taxpayers and intended to pay for lodging for state representatives who reside 50 miles or more from Nashville."

READ MORE:Kamala Harris visits Nashville to meet with 'Tennessee Three' after GOP expelled Black Dems

Otten's reporting comes after all the headlines surrounding GOP efforts to expel Jones and Pearson from the Tennessee State Legislature — a move that was vehemently criticized by Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris, who went to Tennessee and expressed her solidarity with Jones and Pearson, as well as by two well-known Never Trump conservatives: journalist Charlie Sykes and former Republic National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

Sykes and Steele are both of the view that while Republicans should openly debate liberals and progressives on the gun control issue, trying to silence Jones and Pearson only makes them look like bullies and authoritarians.

Steele, talking to Jones on MSNBC, was quite forceful in his comments and told the Democratic state lawmaker, "You stand for something bigger than what happened today on so many levels... Your generation will mark this moment, and every last one of those bastards who voted you out will rue that moment."

Jones and Pearson were restored to the Tennessee House of Representatives by their district councils. A third Democratic state lawmaker, Gloria Johnson, was also a candidate for expulsion from the Tennessee State Legislature. But when her proposed expulsion came up for a vote, Republicans voted to spare her — which, Johnson argues, is no coincidence, as she is white and Jones and Pearson are both African-American.

READ MORE:Tennessee lawmaker: 'Partisan' GOP efforts to oust him were a 'gross miscalculation'

Otten notes that "calls for Sexton to step down have mounted rapidly," explaining, "Thousands of people have signed an online petition for Sexton to resign. The petition, which was started by the Christian social justice group Faithful America, had nearly 19,000 signatures at the time of this writing…. Officials from the Cumberland County and Putnam County Democratic Parties, both in the speaker’s district, have also called for him to resign."

Democrats, however, are a minority party in Tennessee, a deep red state that President Joe Biden lost to former President Donald Trump by 23 percent in the United States' 2020 presidential election. Tennessee has a GOP governor (Bill Lee) and two GOP U.S. senators (Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty), and Republicans dominate both houses of the Tennessee State Legislature.

READ MORE:'Can’t expel truth': Ousted TN lawmaker Justin Pearson highlights hypocrisy of 'country built on a protest'

Read The New Republic's full report at this link.

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