Friday, 15 February, 2019

Republican North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones dies at 76

Walter Jones NC’s 3rd congressional district representative dies at 76	 	 	 			Walter Jones Walter Jones NC’s 3rd congressional district representative dies at 76 Walter Jones
Melinda Barton | 14 February, 2019, 04:00

Jones paid a price for his independence within his own party caucus, but he had his priorities straight when it came to important issues of war and peace. His military-heavy district was a part of his change of heart, and his office displayed a wall of photos of Camp Lejeune Marines killed in the war on terror.

His ultimate opposition to the Iraq war came with the irony that he instigated a symbolic slap against the French when their country early on opposed US military action. Rep. Jones had voted in favor of the war, and famously called for "french fries" to be called "freedom fries".

"I did not do what I should have done to read and find out whether Bush was telling the truth about Saddam [Hussein] being responsible for 9/11 and having weapons of mass destruction", Jones said in 2015. "And it's very special to me because it goes back to my regretting that I voted to go into the Iraq war". He ultimately signed well over 11,000 letters to the families of dead troops, describing that as a penance of sorts.

Butterfield said he will miss Jones' "humility, intellect and unwavering love of his community". He was first elected to North Carolina's House of Representatives in 1982 and served until 1992, when his father announced that he would retire at the end of his term. His office said he had plans to return January 3, when the new Congress began.

State law will require a new election to fill Jones' seat, according to statute provided by the State Board of Elections.

In a 2013 interview with NC Policy Watch, Jones discussed the debt ceiling, gun control, immigration, and the damaging influence of Citizens United. He ran unopposed previous year on his way to a 13th term.

"Congressman Jones will long be remembered for his honesty, faith and integrity", his office said in a statement on his passing.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a release that Jones" "relentless work on behalf of our men and women in uniform, veterans, military families and caregivers honored our American values and strengthened our country'.

"I'm proud to serve the same state as the late Congressman Walter Jones, an immovable advocate for eastern North Carolinians and our armed forces who set a strong example of civil discourse & principled leadership in Washington D.C. for a quarter-century".

Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline tweeted Sunday, "Walter Jones was a thoughtful, devoted legislator who always did what he felt was right". He became a Republican and was sent to Washington two years later.

Congress would be a more effective and probably a more moral body if it had more members like Walter Jones.

Jones is a 1966 graduate of Atlantic Christian College, now Barton College.