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Walter B. Jones

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Walter Jones, Jr.
Walter B. Jones, official Congressional photo.jpg

Assumed office 
January 3, 1995
Preceded by Martin Lancaster

Born February 10, 1943 (1943-02-10) (age 73)
Farmville, North Carolina
Political party Democratic (1982-1994)
Republican (1994-present)
Spouse(s) Joe Anne Jones
Residence Farmville, North Carolina
Alma mater Atlantic Christian College
Occupation business distributor
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States National Guard
Years of service 1967-1971
Unit North Carolina

Walter Beaman Jones, Jr. (born February 10, 1943, in Farmville, North Carolina) is an American politician; a Republican, he currently represents North Carolina's 3rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. The district encompasses the Outer Banks and areas near the Pamlico Sound.

Jones' father was Walter B. Jones, Sr., a Democratic Party congressman from the neighboring 1st district. The younger Jones has long since dropped the "Jr." from his name, much like John Dingell of Michigan.


Jones is a lifelong resident of Farmville, a suburb of Greenville, North Carolina. He attended Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia, and graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts from Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College) in Wilson, North Carolina before serving four years (1967–1971) in the North Carolina National Guard.

Jones was born a Southern Baptist and is a convert to Catholicism.[1][2]

Political career

An executive with his family's business supply company, Jones was elected as a Democrat to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1983 and served for five terms, until 1992. He was known in the North Carolina House for his advocacy of campaign finance reform and lobbying reform.[2] Shortly after his father died, Jones unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for his father's seat in the 103rd United States Congress of 1992 (losing to Eva Clayton in a primary runoff).

He switched parties and won in the 3rd District in the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, defeating incumbent Democrat Martin Lancaster. The race was initially very close until Jones released a picture of Lancaster jogging with President Bill Clinton, whose socially liberal stands (especially on gays in the military) angered many voters in this district.[3] Although Democrats have a large advantage in registered voters, the 3rd has always had a very strong social conservative tint; Jesse Helms in particular had a large base of support here. With his victory, Jones became the first (and as of the 2008 elections, only) Republican to represent a significant portion of eastern North Carolina in the House since Reconstruction. The 3rd had incorporated a large amount of his father's former territory. Jones has been re-elected every two years since.

His most serious general election challenge came in 2000, when his opponent spent well in excess of $1.4 million in attempting to unseat him. Jones garnered some 63% of the vote in that contest, largely helped by George W. Bush winning the 3rd with his highest victory margin in the state. He was easily reelected to a 7th term in 2006, receiving 69% of the vote against Craig Weber, a popular weatherman on WCTI-TV in New Bern (the ABC affiliate for much of the district) and a former Marine.

Jones serves on the Armed Services and Financial Services Committees.

Unlike Walter, Sr., a moderate Democrat, Jones has a very conservative voting record according to the American Conservative Union, with a lifetime rating of 87.9 from that interest group. However, his voting record has drifted more toward the center in recent years according to the group's ranking. In the last three years, he received some of the lowest ACU ratings of any Republican from the South. In 2006, he received a 79, in 2007 he received a 71, and in 2008 he received a 58.[4] [5][6] The former two ratings were the lowest recorded in those years for a Republican from North Carolina. Jones said that his father was able to vote his conscience until he became a member of the House Democratic leadership, at which time he had to vote with the party line, as when he opposed but still voted for the 1975 federal bailout of a bankrupt New York City: "He had to vote it that way. I would rather do what I think is right than to sell my political soul."[2]

He also serves on the Liberty Caucus (sometimes called the Liberty Committee), a group of libertarian-minded Republican congressional representatives.[7] Congressman Ron Paul hosts a luncheon for the Liberty Caucus every Thursday. Other members include Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, Virgil Goode of Virginia, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Zach Wamp of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona.[8]

Jones opposes pork barrel spending projects[2] and is a staunch advocate of federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act[9] and voted for H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[10] In 2008, he opposed H.R. 5767, the Payment Systems Protection Act (a bill that sought to place a moratorium on enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act while the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve defined "unlawful Internet gambling").

Jones has sided with the Democrats on economic issues such as raising the minimum wage. He is an animal lover and has said he would like a memorial created on the National Mall for war dogs.[2]

Jones endorsed Ron Paul in the 2008 race for president of the United States.[11]

In an annual survey conducted by Washingtonian magazine, Congressional staffers voted Jones the "kindest" member of the House.[2]

In 2007, Jones cosponsored legislation with fellow North Carolina congressman Heath Shuler to require airlines to have sections of the aircraft where large movie screens were not visible. This was to avoid the situation where children could watch films potentially objectionable by their parents.[12] He also was the only Republican co-sponsor of legislation to challenge Tom DeLay's proposed changes to House ethics rules.[2]

On February 14, 2008, Rep. Jones was one of only three Republicans (along with Ron Paul and Wayne Gilchrest) to vote to hold George W. Bush confidantes Joshua Bolten and Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress for failing to testify and provide documents relevant to the firing of federal prosecutors.

On September 15, 2009, Jones was one of only seven Republicans to vote for a resolution of disapproval of fellow Representative Joe Wilson for his actions during President Barack Obama's address to a Joint Session of Congress on September 9, 2009.[13]

Jones presents the Walter B. Jones Campus Defender of Freedom Award to a North Carolina activist selected by a committee at Duke University, including the Duke College Republicans; in 2009, Jones presented the award to B.J. Lawson.[14] At the 2009 ceremony, Jones said that "The Republican party needs to have a face that can be seen and identified with by people of all races. The future of the Republic party lies in being able to relate to the average working family."[14] He also spoke in favor of making Duke's endowment more transparent, saying that he is in favor of more openness on the part of institutions: "To me, sunshine is the answer."[14]

Iraq war

Jones was initially a strong supporter of the conflict in Iraq, but then became one of the leading Republicans opposed to continued involvement in Iraq. Jones became well-known for leading the effort, along with GOP Rep. Bob Ney, to have french fries renamed "freedom fries" in House cafeteria menus as a protest against French opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[15] Jones later modified his stance on the war to a considerable extent. In 2005, he stated that he had come to believe that there had been little reason to go to war, despite his earlier support, which had been based upon selective intelligence supplied to Congress. He said of his previous position on the fries, "I wish it had never happened."[16] In July 2006, the names were quietly changed back.[17]

On March 17, 2005, he sponsored a bill endorsing the conduct of his Camp Lejeune constituent, controversial Marine Corps Lieutenant Ilario Pantano, who faced charges (subsequently dropped) for having shot two Iraqis (allegedly unarmed civilians) on April 15, 2004.[18]

Jones called on President George W. Bush to apologize for misinforming Congress to win authorization for the war. Jones said, "If I had known then what I know today, I wouldn't have voted for that resolution."[19]

He contends that the United States went to war "with no justification."[2][16] On the subject, he said, "I just feel that the reason of going in for weapons of mass destruction, the ability of the Iraqis to make a nuclear weapon, that's all been proven that it was never there." He added that his change of opinion came about from attending the funeral of a sergeant killed in Iraq, when his last letter to his family was being read out. On June 16, 2005, he joined with three other members of Congress (Neil Abercrombie, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul) in introducing a resolution calling for the start of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq to begin by October 2006.[20] Jones covered the hallway outside his office with photographs of soldiers who had died in Iraq.[2] He said, "If we were given misinformation intentionally by people in this administration, to commit the authority to send boys, and in some instances girls, to go into Iraq, that is wrong. Congress must be told the truth."[2]

In 2007, he and Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA) introduced the Constitutional War Powers Resolution, which seeks to "prohibit the president from ordering military action without congressional approval, except when the United States or U.S. troops were attacked or when U.S citizens needed to be evacuated." [21]

On January 12, 2007, he introduced H. J. Res. 14: Concerning the use of military force by the United States against Iran in the 110th congress.[22] According to Jones on his web site, the resolution requires that — absent a national emergency created by an attack, or a demonstrably imminent attack, by Iran upon the United States or its armed forces — the President must consult with Congress and receive specific authorization prior to initiating any use of military force against Iran.[23] This resolution was removed from a military spending bill for the war in Iraq by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on March 13, 2007.[24]

On March 23, 2007, Jones was one of two Republicans to vote for a bill that would require President George W. Bush to bring combat troops home from Iraq by September 1, 2008. The other Republican was Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland's 1st congressional district.[25]

Jones's views on the war in Iraq did not ingratiate him to Bush or to the Republican leadership, which prevented him from succeeding the late Jo Ann Davis as ranking Republican on the Readiness Subcommittee of the Armed Forces Committee. He was passed over for Randy Forbes when the 110th Congress convened because the full committee's ranking member, Duncan Hunter of California, didn't agree with Jones' change of heart on the war.[26] He had been approached by some Democrats about bolting the GOP and either becoming an independent caucusing with the Democrats or switching back to the Democratic Party outright.[27]

Additionally, Jones' changed views on the war and other issues angered many Republicans in his district, which has the largest military presence of any in North Carolina.[2] For the first time since his initial run for Congress, he faced substantive primary opposition in Onslow County commissioner Joe McLaughlin. However, on May 6, 2008, he defeated poorly funded McLaughlin by a 60% to 40% margin and was nominated for another term. Jones defeated Craig Weber in the general election by a margin of 65%-35%.

Committee assignments


  1. Walter B. Jones Jr. | projects
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 [1]
  4. ACU 2006 U.S. Congress Ratings Retrieved August 10, 2007
  5. ACU 2007 congressional ratings
  6. ACU 2008 Congressional ratings
  7. "The Liberty Committee". Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  8. Caldwell, Christopher (2007-07-22). "The Antiwar, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Drug-Enforcement-Administration, Anti-Medicare Candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  9. Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777
  10. Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411
  11. Ron Paul 2008 › Get Involved
  12. Bill targets sex and violence in inflight movies -
  13. [2]
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Chen, Rongjie (2009-04-15). "Lawson awarded GOP honor for activism". Duke Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  15. - House cafeterias change names for 'french' fries and 'french' toast - Mar. 12, 2003
  16. 16.0 16.1 French fries protester regrets war jibe | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
  17. BBC NEWS | Americas | French fries back on House menu
  18. [ H. RES. 167 Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to Second Lieutenant Ilario Pantano, United States Marine Corps]
  19. Middle East Online
  20. Top Worldwide
  21. | Bill aims to realign war clout
  22. Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)
  23. Congressman Walter B. Jones - Releases by DexteraNet
  24. [3]
  25. House Roll Call On Iraq Spending, Troop Withdrawal - Politics News Story - KNTV | San Francisco
  26. - Jones's anti-war position may cost him Armed Services post
  27. - Anti-war Jones wooed by Dems, but plans to stay in GOP for now

External links


United States House of Representatives


Template:NC-FedRepsv:Walter B. Jones

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