On Sunday, February 10th, Congressman Walter B. Jones (Republican, NC-3) passed away. He leaves behind his wife, JoAnn, and his daughter Ashley. Jones was 76 years old.
“Congressman Jones was a man of the people,” said the statement released by his office.
With a kind heart and the courage of his convictions, he dedicated his life to serving his Savior and to standing up for Americans who needed a voice.
— Rep. Walter Jones (@RepWalterJones) February 10, 2019
The statement continued:
“He was a champion for our men and women in uniform and their families, always mindful of their service and sacrifice.
“Congressman Jones will long be remembered for his honesty, faith and integrity. He was never afraid to take a principled stand. He was known for his independence, and widely admired across the political spectrum. Some may not have agreed with him, but all recognized that he did what he thought was right.
He will be sorely missed.”
On January 2nd, Jones had stated that he would not be running again in 2020 and later that month it was announced he had entered into Hospice care. Jones has apparently been battling with an undisclosed illness.
Walter Jones attended Atlantic Christian College and graduated in 1966. The college was renamed to Barton College in 1990.
The year Jones graduated college, his father Walter B. Jones Sr., was elected as a U.S. Representative for North Carolina’s 1st district. Walter Jones Sr. was a Democrat and served until 1992.
Jones followed in his father’s footsteps, he first ran for his father’s seat but lost in the primary runoff but tried again and was elected to Congress for the 3rd district in 1995. Before heading to Washington, D.C., Jones held a seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives.
In the 2016 election, Jones easily beat his Democratic challenger with a whopping 67.2 of the vote and in 2014, he beat his Democratic challenger with 67.8% of the vote. In 2018, he ran unopposed.
Congressman Jones was known as a fiscal conservative and Constitutionalist who worked issues such as the trade deficit, tax reform, reducing the national debt, protecting the 2nd Amendment, illegal immigration, protecting retired citizens, and pro-life causes.
Over the course of his tenure, Jones consistently fought against increased spending and voted Nay on the majority of appropriation expansion, budget and debt ceiling related bills. Interestingly, Jones also voted Nay on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (HR 1) which passed the House in 2017
Many media outlets running articles about Jones’ death are focused on a single vote, the Iraq war, which Jones said he regretted. Jones said on the House Floor in 2014 that voting to authorize the Iraq war was “one of the biggest regrets in my tenure of Congress” because, as Jones explained, “with that vote, we gave up our Constitutional authority.”
Jones, however, was not anti-military or opposed to military actions. A former National Guard member, Jones served a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, was aggressive in his support of all military members and believed in strengthening national defense.
Brooks Gruber and John Brow died when their v-22 Osprey crashed in Arizona in 2000. The two men were improperly blamed in a Marine Corps statement on the incident. Jones was contacted by one of the men’s widow’s in 2002 about clearing their names. The congressman took up the cause and did not give up the fight which lasted fourteen years. In 2009, Jones took to the House Floor to set the record straight for the two pilots.
In 2016, Jones’ the battle to clear Brooks Gruber and John Brow of blame was over – Jones had won.
I prayed every night that these two Marine pilots would rest in peace with their names cleared. Now those prayers have been answered,” Jones said in the press release.
Jones also fought for 10 years to clear the members of Marine Special Operations Company Foxtrot accused of murdering civilians in the Bati Kat district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province in 2007. Jones won that fight too and in 2018 the Headquarters Marine Corps sent a letter to Jones that fully exonerating Fox Company.
An area of his career which stands out is Jones’ deep commitment to pro-life causes, evident in the co-sponsoring of nine pieces of legislation mainly aimed at protecting the unborn.
— Rep. Walter Jones (@RepWalterJones) July 22, 2015
“An unborn child is a gift from God that is entitled to be protected,” said Jones. “That fundamental principle must be reflected in our nation’s laws. ”
An unborn child is a gift from God that is entitled to be protected. That fundamental principle must be reflected in our nation's laws. On the 46th anniversary of the March for Life, I'm happy to continue my longtime pro-life advocacy. https://t.co/EYlHx0QZ6x
— Rep. Walter Jones (@RepWalterJones) January 18, 2019
Rep. Jones sought to protect free speech for military chaplains, was a senior member of the Pro-Life Caucus, and of the Values Action Team (VAT).
Jones was also a supporter of President Trump. Congressman Jones voted over 30 times in support of items on the administration’s agenda, 13 of which were to repeal an Obama era regulation.
Several of the votes included blocking paths to illegal immigration like stopping the creation of sanctuary cities, deporting gang members and raising penalties for those re-entering the U.S. Illegally.
More of Congressman Jones’ legislative accomplishments can be found on his congressional website.
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A.P. Dillon is the North Carolina Bureau Chief for The Tennesee Star and a reporter at Battleground State News. Follow A.P. Dillon on Twitter. Email Tips to [email protected].
Photo “Walter Jones” by Gage Skidmore CC2.0.