Metro Council members overwhelmed with emails to reinstate expelled lawmaker

Council meets Monday and is expected to vote on whether to reinstate or replace former state representative Justin Jones.
The Nashville Metro Council is scheduled to meet on Monday and vote on whether to reinstate or replace former state representative Justin Jones.
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 12:41 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Nashville Metro Council members are overwhelmed with emails from the public in support of reinstating former state Representative Justin Jones on Monday.

If you’re trying to reach members of the Metro Council via email, you may have received an automatic reply asking for patience as they sift through, “an overwhelming amount of emails,” ahead of Monday’s meeting and vote.

Three council members and Vice Mayor Jim Shulman have such auto-replies set ahead of the vote.

Councilwoman Emily Benedict’s reply says, “Thank you for your email. If you are contacting me regarding my vote to reinstate Rep Justin Jones, he has my vote at Council on Monday.”

Councilman Brandon Taylor’s reply says, “Thank you for your email... I am going to vote to reinstate Rep. Justin Jones. If this is not about Rep. Jones, please bare with me as we are receiving an overwhelming amount of emails.”

Councilwoman Zulfat Suara’s reply says, “Thanks for your email. I am a yes vote. This is because I have received several emails and calls from many constituents asking him to reinstate him. I believe the voices of the voters are powerful and should be respected. That is the hallmark of democracy.”

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Shulman’s reply says the vice mayor only votes if there’s a tie, his job is to run the proceedings. However, he says that if there is a tie, he will vote to reappoint Rep. Jones.

“His district elected him and he should be reappointed to serve his constituents. That is how democracy works,” his reply said.

Metro Council is set to meet and vote on whether to reinstate or replace Jones’ House seat at 4:30 p.m. Monday. A simple majority vote is needed to send him back to his seat.

Ahead of the session, 23 of the 40 Metro Council members tweeted they plan on voting to reinstate Jones.

A protest by hundreds of Nashville students and activists demanding stricter gun laws on March 30 took a turn when three Tennessee State Representatives jumped in.

Former Rep. Justin J. Pearson, former Rep. Jones and Rep. Gloria Johnson interrupted the House calendar and began chanting with the crowd in the balcony from the floor. Jones and Pearson used a bullhorn to lead the cries of protest.

Pearson, Jones, and Johnson all defended their actions, saying they demanded action to help prevent more mass shootings. Some Republican lawmakers maintain the trio broke House rules and deserved to be punished.