'There's got to be a better way to legislate:' Wisconsin elected leaders react to expulsion of Tennessee representatives

NOW: ’There’s got to be a better way to legislate:’ Wisconsin elected leaders react to expulsion of Tennessee representatives

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Political leaders in Wisconsin are calling the expulsion of two Tennessee legislators disappointing after the issue grabbed nationwide attention.

The Republican-controlled Tennessee House voted Thursday to expel Representative Justin Jones and Representative Justin Pearson. Representative Gloria Johnson also faced an expulsion vote but survived the vote. The move was done in response to the three legislators' role in a gun reform protest last week.

"There's got to be a better way to legislate than to throw out some of your colleagues," Governor Tony Evers told reporters in Waukesha.

Evers also echoed accusations that Jones and Pearson suffered expulsion because of their skin color, when Johnson, who is white, did not.

"Two were expelled and one was not, and what was the difference there? And obviously if you look at the three of them, it's the color of their skin," Evers said.

Rep. Dora Drake of Milwaukee is the leader of the Legislative Black Caucus in Wisconsin's Legislature. She also shared reaction with CBS 58.

"Knowing that that has happened in Tennessee, I think, should make it loud and clear to anyone, in any state, that this is a potential reality," Drake said.

Drake called what happened outrageous and disappointing. Her concern is how Black elected officials are silenced for speaking up for constituents' concerns.

"If we get caught up in the discussion of decorum, was it right or wrong, we're missing the issue here," Drake said. "The issue is, there was a need that needed to be advocated, and with the lawmakers that were expelled, not only were they expelled due to what they were advocating for but because of their race."

Legislators from Wisconsin joined others from across the country and sent a letter to the Tennessee Legislature to voice support for the Tennessee Three, the name applied to Jones, Pearson and Johnson.

The letter can be seen here.

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