Sen. Sampson Statement on Expulsion of Tennessee Lawmakers

April 10, 2023

“Since late last week, I have seen numerous opinion articles, some even from my Connecticut legislative colleagues, attempting to connect the removal of two Tennessee lawmakers to race-based discrimination. I watched the events closely and I don’t see it.  If I thought that was the case, I would say so and condemn it. Surely, racial discrimination still exists in America but those making the argument here are a bit disingenuous.


As someone who serves in the minority of a legislative body, I can tell you the Tennessee lawmakers being expelled last week were undeniably in the wrong. Despite the talking points from the left, they are not being mistreated. They are not victims here. “Democracy” is not being stolen. It is they who failed in their role as elected representatives when they chose to ignore the parliamentary rules, to bully their colleagues into shutting down the proceedings, and to take over the Tennessee House of Representatives with a bullhorn – so ironic in the times we live in where many Democrats lawmakers hang their hat on the word “insurrection”. They, in fact, violated the rights of every other lawmaker and their constituents by preventing their respective voices from being heard. Failing to punish them for their actions would be an invitation to further disorder and further undermining of the democratic process they swore to uphold and defend.


I can sympathize with the frustration of serving in the minority, under one-sided rules, having your proposals being ignored, and yes – even feeling as if your voice is sometimes silenced.  Indeed, I was surprised and disappointed to hear the characterization of how the body operates from minority Democrats – regardless of their skin color. The Republicans in the majority should remember the fact that every member represents an equal number of constituents, and all voices should be heard – and respected. As I tell my Democrat friends in Hartford, you have the votes. There is no reason to silence anyone.


However, none of that excuses bad behavior or disrespecting the rules of a legislative body crafted by those selected and so empowered by the will of the people. It’s thoroughly disappointing that none showed the slightest remorse for their actions.


Their demands for broad-ranging gun control were rightfully rejected by their colleagues as unconstitutional and ineffective. Every American, and I’m certain every member of the Tennessee legislature regardless of party, feels the pain and devastation of the recent tragedy in Nashville. The repeated suggestion that only those in favor of more gun laws are thoughtful and caring is vile and wrong.  Some of us prefer reason and the respect for the natural rights of others to policy driven by emotion without reason – no matter how genuine the passion behind it.


Their utter disrespect and disregard for those who disagree with them was on full display during the debate over their removal. Their attempt to martyr themselves as heroes fighting for the victims of “gun violence” smacks of political opportunism and dishonesty. Their actions will serve only to further divide this country and potentially more violence.


Kudos to those lawmakers voting yes in the Tennessee legislature for defending the rule of law, the integrity of the legislative process, and for standing up against those that become bullies when they don’t get their way.”