'The petty politics have to stop.' Lawmaker assigned small, windowless office by House Speaker

Rep. Gloria Johnson's office
Posted at 5:28 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 17:45:26-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — State Representative Gloria Johnson got a new office Friday.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton emailed Rep. Johnson to tell her about her new assignment. Her office is a small, windowless room on the fourth floor of the Cordell Hull Building that is supposed to be a compact conference room.

"I found out about 5 o'clock, and they gave me office number 427," said Rep. Gloria Johnson. "Me and a couple of colleagues were walking around looking for it and there wasn't a 427. There was a tiny, little conference room between 426 and 428 and we were like 'no, they wouldn't do that.'"

Rep. Johnson said she was shocked by the size and condition of her room and the space for her assistant.

"Give a member a closet for an office? And her 65-year-old assistant a literal closet with ceiling tiles out, that her desk won't even fit in? I mean that's not how we get to unity," Rep. Johnson said.

When the House voted on January 12 to re-elect Speaker Cameron Sexton, Rep. Johnson was the only one who did not vote for him.

She said she believes that is why she got the office assignment that she did.

"The petty politics have to stop," she said.

The House Speaker's director of communications sent NewsChannel 5 the following statement.

“Rep. Johnson shared office space within the House research division for the last two years of the 111th General Assembly. She expressed her displeasure about her office assignment being within research. To alleviate her concerns, Rep. Johnson now has her own office located outside of the research division for the 112th General Assembly. Speaker Sexton is responsible for setting policies and procedures for operation within his chamber including staff and office assignments.”
Doug Kufner, Spokesperson

But Rep. Johnson said she never made a request to move. According to Johnson, she and Rep. Bo Mitchell were notified that their individual offices were going to be renovated and become part of the research division. They were told to expect new office assignments in January.

"They made a mistake. They're getting beat up a little bit about it because it's petty and childish, and now they're trying to put this on me again," Rep. Johnson said.

The representative has a meeting scheduled February 5 with Speaker Sexton.

"I want him to have the courage to tell me exactly why that's where I am or why he put me there," she said.

At the end of the day, she said her constituents are being cheated.

Rep. Gloria Johnson with constituents in previous office.

"The voters in my district are just as important as the voters in Cameron Sexton's district, and they deserve an office for them to come and meet their representative," she said.