tennessee three

Gloria Johnson announces U.S. Senate campaign

Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) seeks recognition during a House floor session on April 6, 2023. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

State Rep. Gloria Johnson, a Knoxville Democrat who narrowly avoided expulsion from the House as a member of the “Tennessee Three,” is announcing a bid for the U.S. Senate next year.

Johnson thanked state Republicans for the “gift” of targeting the Democratic lawmakers for mounting a gun protest in the chamber after the mass shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School in April.

“I think it will help as we run this race,” she told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The Republican incumbent is Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood.

“While Senator Blackburn is working hard to fight back against Biden’s woke agenda, state Rep. Johnson is pushing that divisive, destructive agenda here in Tennessee,” campaign spokeswoman Abigail Sigler said in a statement. “Tennesseans deserve a United States senator who is committed to fighting for our conservative values.”

Here’s the release from the Johnson campaign:

Knoxville, TN — Today, Gloria Johnson announced she is running U.S. Senate be-cause Tennessee deserves a Senator who will fight for working families not special interests and D.C. politicians. The campaign will be co-chaired by Representative Justin J. Pearson and Senator Charlane Oliver.

Gloria Johnson has dedicated her life to serving the people of Tennessee, fighting for justice and standing tall for all who have been left out, left behind, or left without a voice. As a member of the “Tennessee Three” she demanded Republican politicians pass gun safety measures to prevent shootings like the one at The Covenant School.

An excerpt of Gloria’s remarks in Knoxville:

“We need somebody that’s gonna care about Tennessee families and lifting them up and making sure that it’s them that we’re trying to cut costs and not cutting costs for corporations and billionaires. We’ve got to make sure that Tennessee families are earning a good wage, have access to affordable health care, have great schools for their kids, and can live in dignity and be able to retire. Marsha is doing none of those things. We need somebody whose focus is going to be with Tennessee families.”

Today, Gloria will be holding events across the state. She kicked off the campaign in Knoxville near Central High School where she was a special education teacher and saw firsthand the impact of gun violence when Ryan McDonald, a student, was shot and killed in 2008. In Nashville, she will be joined by Representative Justin Jones in front of the Woman Suffrage Monument in Centennial Park, and she will end her day in Memphis at the I Am a Man Plaza, joined by Representative Justin J. Pearson.

Find out more about Gloria’s campaign at www.votegloriajohnson.com.

House turmoil focus of special session coverage

Gun protesters unfurl a banner in the gallery of the House chamber on Aug. 28, 2023. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The silencing of Rep. Justin Jones (D-Nashville) and subsequent walkout by House Democrats dominated the news coverage of Monday’s special session. Here are the headline:

Associated Press: GOP silences ‘Tennessee Three’ Democrat on House floor for day on ‘out of order’ rule; crowd erupts.

Tennessee Lookout: Democrats walk out over Jones silencing, as House-Senate remain in stalemate.

USA Today: Republican lawmakers silence ‘Tennessee Three’ Democrat on House floor for day on ‘out of order’ rule.

New York Times: Tennessee G.O.P. Again Silences Democratic Lawmaker Justin Jones.

Daily Memphian: House Speaker ejects audience, silences Jones in special session; Democrats walk off in protest.

WKRN-TV: Democrats walk out of House session after Rep. Jones silenced; Gallery cleared.

WTFV-TV: Rep. Justin Jones has been silenced from the House on Monday. Democrats left. The public screamed.

WREG-TV: Democrats walk out of House session after Rep. Jones silenced; Gallery cleared.

WMC-TV: Member of ‘Tennessee Three’ silenced on House floor as special session stalemate between House and Senate continues.

The bullhorn rule: House creates new disciplinary rules following Tennessee Three debacle

House Republicans are adopting a new set of guidelines to deal with disruptions and unruly conduct following last spring’s ouster of two lawmakers for leading a gun protest from the well of the chamber.

Under new rules adopted for the special session, members deemed to have “caused a material disruption” of official legislative business will be barred from speaking on the floor for three days. A second offense would be punished by a six-day ban, followed by a loss of speaking privileges for the remainder of the session on the third offense. Members could still vote even if they lost their speaking privileges.

An ad-hoc committee made up of the speaker pro tem, the majority and minority leaders, and the two parties’ caucus chairs would make disciplinary recommendations to the speaker for members found to have impugned the reputation of others during committee meetings.

The rules would specifically ban “voice or noise amplification devices” like the bullhorn Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson did to rally the gallery in April. They would also put the kibosh on flags, signs, and banners in the gallery.

The public will also have a harder time entering the Capitol. The tunnel connecting the Cordell Hull to the statehouse will be closed off from 30 minutes before a floor session to a half-hour after it concludes. And much wider cordon has been set around the House and Senate chambers, meaning fewer people will be able to get into the lobby area while sessions are going on.

New TNJ print edition alert: Fundraising bonanza for the Justins, U.S. Senate race moves, Statesmen’s Dinner

U.S. Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-Nashville) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) address the Statesmen’s Dinner via a recorded video. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Massive fundraising hauls for lawmakers ousted over gun protest.

— Nashville attorney out, Bradshaw to make another bid for U.S. Senate.

— As he awaits sentencing, Kelsey moves $200K to PAC that first drew media scrutiny.

— Updates from the state GOP’s Statesmen’s Dinner.

Also: Noted expert on legislative sneakiness quoted in court, dueling airport boards, Memphis utility chief tells powerless customers not to lose hope, and the AG’s office says state law trumps NCAA rules.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

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